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AN 


EXPOSITION 

OP  THE 

Old  and  New  Testament: 


WHEREIN 

EACH  CHAPTER  IS  SUMMED  UP  IN  ITS  CONTENTS ;  THE  SACRED  TEXT  INSERTED 
AT  LARGE,  IN  DISTINCT  PARAGRAPHS;  EACH  PARAGRAPH  REDUCED 
TO  ITS  PROPER  HEADS ;  THE  SENSE  GIVEN, 

AND  LARGELY  ILLUSTRATED ; 

WITH 

PRACTICAL  REMARKS  AND  OBSERVATIONS: 


BY  MATTHEW  HENRY. 


EDITED  BY 

THE  REY.  GEORGE  BURDER,  AND  THE  REY.  JOSEPH  HUGHES,  A.  M. 

WITH  THE 

LIFE  OF  THE  AUTHOR, 

BY  THE 

REV.  SAMUEL  PALMER. 


JFCrst  IStiftCon: 

TO  WHICH  IS  PREFIXED, 

A  PREFACE, 

BY  ARCHIBALD  ALEXANDER,  D.  D. 

PROFESSOR  OF  THEOLOGY  IN  THE  SEMINARY  AT  PRINCETON,  N.  J. 


VOL.  II. 


PHILADELPHIA : 

ED.  BARRINGTON  &  GEO.  D.  HASWELL 

MARKET  STREET. 


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AN 

EXPOSITION, 


WITH 

PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 


UPON  THE 


HISTORICAL  BOOKS 

OP  THE 


OLD  TESTAMENT, 


NAMELY, 


JOSHUA, 

JUDGES, 

RUTH, 

I.  SAMUEL, 

II.  SAMUEL, 

I.  KINGS, 

II.  KINGS, 


I.  CHRONICLES, 

II.  CHRONICLES 
EZRA, 
NEHEMIAH, 

AND 

ESTHER. 


V.A. 


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THE 


PREFACE 


TO  THE 


HISTORICAL  BOOKS. 


rip  HIS  methodized  and  practical  exposition  of  the  Historical  Books  ventures  abroad,  with  fear  and 
trembling,  in  the  same  plain  and  homely  dress  with  the  former,  on  the  Pentateuch:  omari  res  ipsa 
negat,  contenta  doceri — The  subject  requires  no  ornament ,  to  have  it  apprehended  is  all.  But  I  trust, 
through  grace,  it  proceeds  from  the  same  honest  design,  that  is,  to  promote  the  knowledge  of  the  scrip¬ 
ture,  in  order  to  the  reforming  of  men’s  hearts  and  lives.  If  I  may  but  be  instrumental  to  make  my 
readers  wise  and  good,  wiser  and  better,  more  watchful  against  sin,  and  more  careful  of  their  duty  both 
to  God  and  man,  and,  in  order  to  that,  more  in  love  with  the  word  and  law  of  God,  I  have  all  I  desire, 
all  I  aim  at.  May  he  that  ministereth  seed  to  the  sower,  multiply  the  seed  sown,  by  increasing  the  fruits 
of  righteousness,  2  Cor.  9.  10. 

It  is  the  history  of  the  Jewish  Church  and  Nation,  from  their  first  settlement  in  the  promised  land, 
after  their  four  hundred  and  thirty  years’  bondage  in  Egypt,  and  their  forty  years’  wandering  in  the  wil¬ 
derness,  to  their  re-settlement  there,  after  their  seventy  years’  captivity  in  Babylon — from  Joshua  to 
Nehemiah.  The  five  books  of  Moses  were  taken  up  more  with  their  laws,  institutes,  and  charters;  but 
all  these  books  are  purely  historical,  and  in  that  way  of  writing,  a  great  deal  of  very  valuable  learning 
and  wisdom  has  been  conveyed  from  one  generation  to  another. 

The  chronology  of  this  history,  and  the  ascertaining  of  the  times  when  the  several  events  contained  in 
it,  happened,  would  very  much  illustrate  the  history,  and  add  to  the  brightness  of  it;  it  is  therefore  well 
worthy  the  search  of  the  curious  and  ingenious,  and  they  may  find  both  pleasure  and  profit  in  perusing 
the  labours  of  many  learned  men  who  have  directed  their  studies  that  wav.  I  confess  I  could  willingly 
have  entertained  myself  and  reader,  in  this  preface,  with  a  calculation  of 'the  times  through  which  this 
history  passes:  but  I  consider,  that  such  a  babe  in  knowledge  as  I  am,  could  not  pretend  either  to  add 
to,  or  correct  what  has  been  done  by  so  many  great  writers,  much  less  to  decide  the  controversies  that 
have  been  agitated  among  them.  '  I  had  indeed  some  thoughts  of  consulting  my  worthy  and  ever- 
honoured  friend  Mr.  Tallents  of  Shrewsbury-,  the  learned  author  of  the  View  of  Universal  History, 
and  to  have  begged  some  advice  and  assistance  from  him  in  methodizing  the  contents  of  this  history;  but 
in  the  very  week  in  which  I  put  my  last  hand  to  this  part,  it  pleased  God  to  put  an  end  to  his  useful  life, 
(and  useful  it  was  to  the  last,)  and  to  call  him  to  his  rest  in  the  eighty-ninth  year  of  his  age:  so  that  pur¬ 
pose  was  broken  off,  that  thought  of  my  heart.  But  that  elaborate  performance  of  his,  commonly  called 
his  Chronological  Tables,  gives  great  light  to  this,  as  indeed  to  all  other  parts  of  history.  And  Dr. 
Lightfoot’s  Chronology  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  Mr.  Cradock’s  History  of  the  Old  Testament,  metho¬ 
dized,  may  also  be  of  great  use  to  such  readers  as  I  write  for. 

As  to  the  particular  chronological  difficulties  which  occur  in  the  thread  of  this  history,  I  have  not  been 
large  upon  them;  because  many  times  I  could  not  satisfy  myself;  and  how  then  could  I  satisfy  my  reader 
concerning  them?  I  have  not  indeed  met  with  any  difficulties  so  great,  but  that  solutions  might  be  given 
of  them,  which  are  sufficient  to  silence  the  atheists  and  antiscripturists,  and  roll  away  from  the  sacred  • 
records  all  the  reproach  of  contradiction  and  inconsistency  with  themselves;  for  to  do  that,  it  is  enough 
to  show  that  the  difference  may  be  accommodated  either  this  way  or  that,  when  at  the  same  time  one 
cannot  satisfy  one’s  self  which  way  is  the  right. 

But  it  is  well  that  these  are  things  about  which  we  may  very-  safely  and  very  comfortably  be  ignorant 
and  unresolved.  WEat  concerns  "nr  solvation,  ?«  ploin  pnouoAi.  and  we  need  not  nerplex  ourselves  about 
the  niceties  of  chronology,  genealogy,  or  chorography.  At  least,  my  undertaking  leads  me  not  into 
those  labyrinths.  What  is  profitable  for  doctrine,  for  reproof,  for  correction,  and  for  instruction  in 
righteousness,  is  what  I  intend  to  observe;  and  I  would  endeavour  to  open  what  is  dark  and  hard  to  be 
understood,  only  in  order  to  that.  Every  author  must  be  taken  in  his  way  of  writing;  the  sacred 
penmen,  as  they  have  not  left  us  formal  systems,  so  they  have  not  left  us  formal  annals,  but  useful  narra¬ 
tives  of  things  proper  for  our  direction  in  the  way  of  duty,  which  some  great  judges  of  common  writers 
have  thought  to  be  the  most  pleasant  and  profitable  histories,  and  most  likely  to  answer  the  end.  The 
word  of  God,  manifesto  pascit,  obscuris  exercet,  (Aug.  in  Joh.  Tract.  45. )  as  one  of  the  Ancients  expresses 
it,  that  is,  it  has  enough  in  it  that  is  easy,  to  nourish  the  meanest  to  life  eternal,  yet  enough  that  is  diffi¬ 
cult,  to  try  the  industry  and  humility  of  the  greatest. 

There  are  several  things  which  should  recommend  this  part  of  sacred  writ  to  our  diligent  and  constant 
search. 

I.  That  it  is  history ;  and  therefore  entertaining  and  very  pleasant,  edifying,  and  very  serviceable  to 
the  conduct  of  human  life.  It  gratifies  the  inquisitive  with  the  knowledge  of  that  which  the  most 
intense  speculation  could  not  discover  any  other  way.  By  a  retirement  into  ourselves,  and  a  serious  con¬ 
templation  of  the  objects  we  are  surrounded  with,  close  reasoning  may  advance  many  excellent  truths 
without  being  beholden  to  any  other.  But  for  the  knowledge  of  past  events,  we  are  entirely  indebted 


6 


PREFACE. 


(and  must  be  so)  to  the  reports  and  records  of  others.  A  notion  or  hypothesis  of  a  man’s  own  framing 
may  gain  him  the  reputation  of  a  wit,  but  a  history  of  a  man’s  own  framing  will  lay  him  under  the 
reproach  of  a  cheat,  any  further  than  as  it  respects  that  which  he  himself  is  an  eye  or  ear  witness  of. 
How  much  are  we  indebted  then  to  the  divine  wisdom  and  goodness  for  these  writings,  which  have  made 
things  so  long  since  past  as  familiar  to  us  as  any  of  the  occurrences  of  the  age  and  place  we  live  in! 

History  is  so  edifying,  that  parables  and  apologues  have  been  invented  to  make  up  the  deficiencies  of 
it,  for  our  instruction  concerning  good  and  evil;  and  whatever  may  be  said  of  other  history,  we  are  sure 
that  in  this  history  there  is  no  matter  of  fact  recorded,  but  what  has  its  use,  and  will  help  either  to  ex 
pound  God’s  providence  or  guide  man’s  prudence. 

II.  That  it  is  true  history,  and  what  we  may  rely  upon  the  credit  of,  and  need  not  fear  being  deceived 
in  That  which  the  heathens  reckoned  tempus  aSsxn,  that  is,  which  they  knew  nothing  at  all  of,  and 
ter'fius  juuQinov,  that  is,  the  account  of  which  was  wholly  fabulous,  is  to  us  temfius  isopmov,  that  is,  what 
we  have  a  most  authentic  account  of.  The  Greeks  were  with  them  the  most  celebrated  historians,  and 
yet  their  successors  in  learning  and  dominion,  the  Romans,  put  them  into  no  good  name  for  their  credi¬ 
bility,  witness  that  of  the  poet:  Et  quicquid  Greecia  mendax  audet  in  Historia — dll  that  lying  Greece 
has  dared  to  record,  Juv.  Sat.  10.  But  the  history  which  we  have  before  us,  is  of  undoubted  certainty, 
and  no  cunningly-devised  fable.  To  be  well  assured  of  this  is  a  great  satisfaction,  especially  since  we 
meet  with  so  many  things  in  it  truly  miraculous,  and  many  more  great  and  marvellous. 

III.  That  it  is  ancient  history,  far  more  ancient  than  was  ever  pretended  to  come  from  any  other 
hand.  Homer,  the  most  ancient  genuine  heathen  writer  now  entirely  extant,  is  reckoned  to  have  lived  at 
the  beginning  of  the  Olympiads,  near  the  time  when  it  is  computed  that  the  city  of  Rome  was  founded 
by  Romulus,  which  was  but  about  the  reign  of  Hezekiah  king  of  Judah.  And  his  writings  pretend  not 
to  be  historical,  but  poetical  fiction  all  over:  rhapsodies  indeed  they  are,  and  the  very  Alcoran  of 
Paganism. 

The  most  ancient  authentic  historians  now  extant  are  Herodotus  and  Thucydides,  who  were  contem¬ 
poraries  with  the  latest  of  our  historians,  Ezra  and  Nehemiah,  and  could  not  write  with  any  certainty 
of  events  much  before  their  own  time.  The  obscurity,  deficiency,  and  uncertainty,  of  all  ancient 
history,  except  that  which  we  find  in  the  scripture,  is  abundantly  made,  out  by  the  learned  Bishop  Stil- 
lingfleet,  in  that  most  useful  Book,  his  Origines  SacrX;  Lib.  1.  Let  the  antiquity  of  this  history  not 
only  recommend  it  to  the  curious,  but  recommend  to  us  all  that  way  of  religion  it  directs  us  in,  as  the 
good  old  way,  in  which  if  we  walk,  we  shall  find  rest  to  our  souls,  Jer.  6.  16. 

IV.  That  it  is  church  history,  the  history  of  the  Jewish  Church,  that  sacred  society,  incorporated  for 
religion,  and  the  custody  of  the  oratles  and  ordinances  of  God,  by  a  charter  under  the  broad  seal  of 
heaven,  a  covenant  confirmed  by  miracles.  Many  great  and  mighty  nations  there  were  at  this  time  in 
the  world,  celebrated,  it  is  likely,  for  wisdom,  and  learning,  and  valour,  illustrious  men,  and  illustrious 
actions;  yet  the  records  of  them  are  all  lost,  either  in  silence  or  fables,  while  that  little  inconsiderable 
nation  of  the  Jews,  that  dwelt  alone,  and  was  not  reckoned  among  the  nations,  Numb.  23.  9.  makes  so 
gre  it  a  figure  in  the  best  known,  most  ancient,  and  most  lasting,  of  all  histories;  while  no  notice  is  taken 
in  it,  of  the  affairs  of  other  nations,  except  only  as  they  fall  in  with  the  affairs  of  the  Jews;  for  the 
Lord's  fiortion  is  his  people,  Jacob  is  the  lot  of  his  inheritance ,  Deut.  32.  8,  9.  Such  a  concern  has  God 
for  his  church  in  every  age,  and  so  dear  have  its  interests  been  to  him;  let  them  therefore  be  so  to  us, 
that  we  may  be  followers  of  him  as  dear  children. 

V.  That  it  is  a  divine  history,  given  by  inspiration  of  God,  and  a  part  of  that  blessed  book  which  is  to 
be  the  standing  rule  of  our  faith  and  practice.  And  we  are  not  to  think  it  a  part  of  it  which  might  have 
been  spared,  or  which  we  may  now  pass  over,  or  cast  a  careless  eye  upon,  as  if  it  were  indifferent 
whether  we  read  it  or  no,  but  we  are  to  read  it  as  a  sacred  record,  preserved  for  our  benefit  on  whom  the 
ends  of  the  world  are  come. 

1.  This  history  is  of  great  use  for  the  understanding  of  some  other  parts  of  the  Old  Testament.  The 
account  we  have  here  of  David’s  life  and  reign,  and  especially  of  his  troubles,  is  a  key  to  many  of  his 
Psalms.  And  much  light  is  given  to  most  of  the  prophecies  by  these  histories. 

2.  Though  we  have  not  altogether  so  many  types  of  Christ  here,  as  we  had  in  the  history  of  the  law 
<f  Moses,  yet  even  herewe  meetwith  divers  who  were  figures  of  Him  that  was  to  come,  such  as  Joshua, 
Samson,  Solomon,  Cyrus,  but  especially  David,  whose  kingdom  was  typical  of  the  kingdom  of  the  Mes¬ 
siah  and  the  covenant  of  royalty  made  with  him,  a  dark  representation  of  the  covenant  of  redemption 
made  with  the  eternal  Word;  nor  know  we  how  to  call  Christ  the  son  of  David,  unless  we  be  acquainted 
withthishistory;  nor  how  to  receive  it  that  John  Baptist  was  the  Elias  that  was  to  come.  Matt.  11.  14. 

3.  The  state  of  the  Jewish  Church,  which  is  here  set  before  us,  was  typical  of  the  Gospel  Church, 

and  the  state  of  that  in  the  days  of  the  Messiah;  and  as  the  prophecies  which  related  to  it,  looked  fur¬ 
ther  to  the  latter  days,  so  did  the  histories  of  it;  and  still  these  things  happened  to  them  for  ensamples,  1 
Cor.  10.  11.  By  the  tenor  of  this  history  we  are  given  to  understand  these  three  things  concerning  the 
church;  for  the  thing  that  hath  been,  is  that  which  shall  be,  Eccl.  1.  9.  (1.)  That  we  are  not  to  expect 

the  perfect  purity  and  unity  of  the  church  in  this  world,  and  therefore  not  to  be  stumbled,  though  we 
are  grieved,  at  its  corruptions,  distempers,  and  divisions;  not  to  think  it  strange  concerning  them,  as 
though  some  strange  thing  happened,  much  less  to  think  the  worse  of  its  laws  and  constitutions  for  the 
sake  of  them,  or  to  despair  of  its  perpetuity.  What  wretched  stains  of  idolatry,  impiety,  and  immo¬ 
rality,  appear  on  the  Jewish  Church;  and  what  a  woful  breach  was  there  between  Judah  and  Ephraim, 
yet  God  took  them  (as  I  may  say)  with  all  their  faults,  and  never  wholly  rejected  them,  till  they  rejected 
tne  Messiah.  Israel  hath  not  been  forsaken,  nor  Judah,  of  her  God,  though  their  land  was  filled  with 
sin  against  the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  Jer.  51.  5.  (2.)  That  we  are  not  to  expect  the  constant  tranquillity 

and  prosperity  of  the  church.  It  was  then  often  oppressed  and  afflicted  from  its  youth,  had  its  years  of 
servitude,  as  well  as  its  days  of  triumph,  was  often  obscured,  diminished,  impoverished,  and  brought 
low;  and  yet  still  God  secured  to  himself  a  remnant,  a  holy  seed,  which  was  the  substance  thereof,  Isa. 
6.  13.  Let  us  not  then  be  surprised  to  see  the  Gospel-Church  sometimes  under  hatches,  and  driven  into 
the  wilderness,  and  the  gates  of  hell  prevailing  far  against  it.  (3.)  That  yet  we  need  not  fear  the  utter 
extirpation  of  it.  The  Gospel-Church  is  called,  the  Israel  of  God,  Gal.  6.  16.  and  the  Jerusalem 
which  is  above.  Gal.  4.  26.  the  heavenly  Jerusalem:  for  as  Israel  after  the  flesh,  and  the  Jerusalem  that 
then  was,  by  the  wonderful  care  of  the  divine  Providence,  outrode  all  the  storms  with  which  they  were 


PREFACE. 


7- 


tossed  and  threatened,  and  continued  in  being  till  they  were  made  to  resign  all  their  honours  to  the  Gos¬ 
pel-Church,  which  they  were  the  figures  of;  so  shall  that  also,  notwithstanding  all  its  shocks,  be  preserved, 
till  the  mystery  of  God  shall  be  finished,  and  the  kingdom  of  Grace  shall  have  its  perfection  in  the 
kingdom  of  Glory. 

4.  This  history  is  of  great  use  to  us  for  our  direction  in  the  way  of  our  duty;  it  was  written  for  our 
learning,  that  we  may  see  the  evil  we  should  avoid,  and  be  armed  against  it,  and  the  good  we  should  do, 
and  be  quickened  to  it.  Though  they  are  generally  judges,  and  kings,  and  great  men,  whose  lives  are 
here  written,  yet  in  them,  even  those  of  the  meanest  rank  may  see  the  deformity  of  sin,  and  hate  it,  and 
the  beauty  of  holiness,  and  be  in  love  with  it;  nay,  the  greater  the  person  is,  the  more  evident  are  both 
these;  for  if  the  great  be  good,  it  is  their  goodness  that  makes  their  greatness  honourable;  if  bad,  their 
greatness  does  but  make  their  badness  the  more  shameful.  The  failings  even  of  good  people  are  also 
recorded  here  for  our  admonition,  that  he  who  thinks  he  stands,  may  take  heed  lest  he  fall;  and  that  he 
who  has  fallen,  may  not  despair  of  forgiveness,  if  he  recover  himself  by  repentance. 

5.  This  history,  as  it  shows  what  God  requires  of  us,  so  it  shows  what  we  may  expect  from  his  provi¬ 
dence,  especially  concerning  states  and  kingdoms.  By  the  dealings  of  God  with  the  Jewish  nation,  it 
appears  that  as  nations  are,  so  they  must  expect  to  fare;  that  while  princes  and  people  serve  the  interests 
of  God’s  kingdom  among  men,  he  will  secure  and  advance  their  interests;  but  that  when  they  shake  off 
his  government,  and  rebel  against  him,  they  can  look  for  no  other  than  an  inundation  of  judgments.  It 
was  so  all  along  with  Israel;  while  they  kept  close  to  God,  they  prospered;  when  they  forsook  him, 
every  thing  went  cross.  That  great  man,  Archbishop  Tillotson,  f  Vol.  I.  Serm.  3.  on  Prov.  14.  34.) 
suggests,  That  though  as  to  particular  persons,  the  providences  of  God  are  promiscuously  administered 
in  this  world,  because  there  is  another  world  of  rewards  and  punishments  for  them,  yet  it  is  not  so  with 
nations  as  such,  but  national  virtues  are  ordinarily  rewarded  with  temporal  blessings,  and  national  sins 
punished  with  temporal  judgments;  because,  as  he  says,  public  bodies  and  communities  of  men,  as  such, 
can  be  rewarded  and  punished  only  in  this  world,  for  in  the  next  they  will  all  be  dissolved.  So  plainly 
are  God’s  ways  of  disposing  kingdoms  laid  before  us  in  the  glass  of  this  history,  that  I  could  wish 
Christian  statesmen  would  think  themselves  as  much  concerned  as  preachers,  to  acquaint  themselves 
with  it;  they  might  fetch  as  good  maxims  of  state  and  rules  of  policy  from  this  as  from  the  best  of  the 
Greek  and  Roman  historians.  We  are  blessed  (as  the  Jews  were)  with  a  divine  revelation,  and  make  a 
national  profession  of  religion  and  relation  to  God,  and  therefore  are  to  look  upon  ourselves  as  in  a 
peculiar  manner  under  a  divine  regimen,  so  that  the  things  which  happened  to  them,  were  designed  for 
ensamples  to  us. 

I  cannot  pretend  to  write  for  great  ones.  But  if  what  is  here  done,  may  be  delightful  to  any  in  read¬ 
ing,  and  helpful  in  understanding  and  improving,  this  sacred  history,  and  governing  themselves  by  the 
dictates  of  it,  let  God  have  all  the  glory,  and  let  all  the  rivers  return  to  the  ocean  from  whence  they 
came.  When  I  look  back  on  what  is  done,  I  see  nothing  to  boast  of,  but  a  great  deal  to  be  ashamed  of; 
and  when  I  look  forward  on  what  is  to  be  done,  I  see  nothing  in  myself  to  trust  to  for  the  doing  of  it;  I 
have  no  sufficiency  of  my  own,  but  by  the  grace  of  God,  I  am  what  I  am,  and  that  grace  shall,  I  trust, 
be  sufficient  for  me.  Surely  in  the  Lord  have  I  righteousness  and  strength.  That  blessed 
which  the  apostle  speaks  of,  Phil.  1.  19.  that  continual  supply  or  communication  of  the  Sfiirit  of  Jesus 
Christ,  is  what  we  may  in  faith  pray  for,  and  depend  upon,  to  furnish  us  for  every  good  word  and  work. 

The  pleasantness  of  the  study  has  drawn  me  on  to  the  writing  of  this,  and  the  candour  with  which 
my  friends  have  been  pleased  to  receive  my  poor  endeavours  on  the  Pentateuch,  encourages  me  to  pub¬ 
lish  it;  it  is  done  according  to  the  best  of  my  skill,  not  without  some  care  and  application  of  mind,  in  the 
same  method  and  manner  with  that;  I  wish  I  could  have  done  it  in  less  compass,  that  it  might  have  been 
more  within  the  reach  of  the  floor  of  the  flock.  But  then  it  would  not  have  been  so  plain  and  full  as  I 
desire  it  may  be  for  the  benefit  of  the  lambs  of  the  flock-.  Brevis  esse  laboro,  obscurus  flo — Labouring  to 
be  concise,  I  become  obscure. 

With  an  humble  submission  to  the  divine  providence  and  its  disposals,  and  a  humble  reliance  on  the 
divine  grace  and  its  conduct  and  operation,  I  purpose  still  to  proceed,  as  I  have  time,  in  this  work.  Two 
volumes  more  will,  if  God  permit,  conclude  the  Old  Testament;  and  then,  if  my  friends  encourage  me, 
and  God  spare  me,  and  enable  me  for  it,  I  intend  to  go  on  to  the  New  Testament.  For  though  many 
have  taken  in  hand  to  set  forth  in  order  a  declaration  of  those  parts  of  scripture  which  are  yet  before  us, 
(Luke  1.  1.)  whose  works  praise  them  in  the  gates,  and  are  likely  to  outlive  mine,  yet  while  the  subject 
is  really  so  copious  as  it  is,  and  the  manner  of  handling  it  may  possibly  be  so  various,  and  while  one  book 
comes  into  the  hands  of  some,  and  another  into  the  hands  of  others,  and  all  concur  in  the  same  design 
to  advance  the  common  interests  of  Christ’s  kingdom,  the  common  faith  once  delivered  to  the  saints, 
and  the  common  salvation  of  precious  souls;  (Tit.  1.  4.  Jude  3.)  I  hope  store,  of  this  kind,  will  be 
thought  no  sore.  I  make  bold  to  mention  my  purpose  to  proceed  thus  publicly,  in  hopes  I  may  have  the 
advice  of  my  friends  in  it,  and  their  prayers  for  me,  that  I  may  be  made  more  ready  and  mighty  in  the 
scriptures,  that  understanding  and  utterance  may  be  given  to  me,  that  I  may  obtain  of  the  Lord  Jesus, 
to  be  found  Jiis  faithful  servant,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  that  call  him  Master. 

M.  H. 


Chester,  June  2,  1708. 


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I 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 

UPON  THE  BOOK  OF 

JOSHUA. 


I  We  have  now  before  us,  the  history  of  the  Jewish  nation,  in  this  book,  and  those  that  follow  it  to  the 
end  of  the  book  of  Esther.  These  books,  to  the  end  of  the  books  of  the  Kings,  the  Jewish  writers 
call,  the  first  book  of  the  prophets,  to  bring  them  within  the  distribution  of  the  books  of  the  Old  Testa¬ 
ment,  into  the  law,  the  prophets,  and  the  Chetubim,  or  Hagiographa,  Luke  24.  44.  The  rest 
they  make  part  of  the  Hagiographa.  For  though  history  is  their  subject,  it  is  justly  supposed  that 
prophets  were  their  penmen:  to  those  books  that  are  purely  and  properly  prophetical  the  name  of  the 
prophet  is  prefixed,  because  the  credibility  of  the  prophecies  depended  much  upon  the  character  of 
the  prophets;  but  these  historical  books,  it  is  probable,  were  collections  of  the  authentic  records  of 
the  nation,  which  some  of  the  prophets  (the  Jewish  Church  was  for  many  ages  more  or  less  continually 
blessed  with  such)  were  divinely  directed  and  helped  to  put  together  for  the  service  of  the  Church 
to  the  end  of  the  world;  as  their  other  officers,  so  their  Historiographers,  had  their  authority  from 

Heaven. - It  should  seem  that  though  the  substance  of  the  several  histories  was  written  when  the 

events  were  fresh  in  memory,  and  written  under  a  divine  direction,  yet  that  under  the  same  direction, 
they  were  put  into  the  form  in  which  we  now  have  them,  by  some  other  hand,  long  afterward 

Srobably,  all  by  the  same  hand,  or  about  the  same  time.  The  grounds  of  the  conjecture  are,  L 
ecause  former  writings  are  so  often  referred  to,  as  the  Book  of  Jasher,  Josh.  10.  13.  and  2  Sam.  1.  18. 
and  the  Chronicles  of  the  kings  of  Israel  and  Judah  often;  and  the  books  of  Gad,  Nathan,  and  Iddo. 
2.  Because  the  days  when  the  things  were  done,  are  spoken  of  sometimes  as  days  long  since  passed; 
as  1  Sam.  9.  9,  He  that  is  now  called  a  prophet,  was  then  called  a  seer.  And  3.  Because  we  so 
often  read  of  things  remaining  unto  this  day,  as  stones,  Josh.  4.  9. — 7.  26. — 8.  29. — 10.  27.  1  Sam.  6. 18. 

.  Names  of  places,  Josh.  5.  9. — 7.  26.  Judg.  1.  26. — 15.  19. — 18.  12.  2  Kings  14.  7.  Rights  and 
possessions,  Judg.  1.  21.  1  Sam.  27.  6.  Customs  and  usages,  1  Sam.  5.  5.  2  Kings  17.  41.  Which 
clauses  have  been  since  added  to  the  history  by  the  inspired  collectors,  for  the  confirmation  and 
illustration  of  it  to  those  of  their  own  age.  And  if  one  may  offer  a  mere  conjecture,  it  is  not  unlikely 
that  the  historical  books  to  the  end  of  the  Kings  were  put  together  by  Jeremiah  the  prophet  a  little 
before  the  captivity,  for  it  is  said  of  Ziklag,  1  Sam.  27.  6.  it  pertains  to  the  kings  of  Judah  (which 
style  began  after  Solomon,  and  ended  in  the  captivity)  unto  this  day:  And  it  is  still  more  probable 
that  those  which  follow,  were  put  together  by  Ezra  the  scribe,  some  time  after  the  captivity. 
However,  though  we  are  in  the  dark  concerning  their  authors,  we  are  in  no  doubt  concerning  their 
authority;  they  were  a  part  of  the  oracles  of  God,  which  were  committed  to  the  Jews,  and  were  so 

received  and  referred  to  by  our  Saviour  and  the  apostles. - In  the  five  books  of  Moses  we  had  a 

very  full  account  of  the  rise,  advance,  and  constitution,  of  the  Old  Testament  Church,  the  family  out 
of  which  it  was  raised,  the  promise,  that  great  charter  by  which  it  w  as  incorporated,  the  jmiracles  by 
which  it  was  built' up,  and  the  la  w a  aiid  oidinaiicea  by  which  it  was  co  be  governed,  r  rom  which 
one  would  conceive  an  expectation  of  its  character  and  state  very  different  from  what  we  find  in  this 
history.  A  nation  that  had  statutes  and  judgments  so  righteous,  one  would  think,  should  have  been 
very  holy;  and  that  had  promises  so  rich,  should  have  been  very  happy.  But,  alas!  a  great  part  of 
the  history  is  a  melancholy  representation  of  their  sins  and  miseries,  for  the  law  made  nothing  perfect; 
that  was  to  be  done  by  the  bringing  in  of  a  better  hope.  And  yet  if  we  compare  the  history  oi  the 
Christian  Church  with  its  constitution,  we  shall  find  the  same  cause  for  wonder,  so  many  have  been 
its  errors  and  corruptions;  for  neither  does  the  Gospel  make  any  thing  perfect  in  this  world,  but  leaves 
us  still  in  the  expectation  of  a  better  hope  in  the  future  state. 

II.  We  have  next  before  us  the  book  of  Joshua,  so  called,  perhaps,  not  because  it  was  written  by  him, 
for  that  is  uncertain.  However  that  be,  it  is  written  concerning  him,  and  if  any 
h  Dr'pi1'?htfoot  thinks  other  wrote  it,  it  was  collected  out  of  his  journals,  or  memoirs.  It  contains  the 
it at  Bishop^1  Patrick*3 is  history  of  Israel  under  the  command  and  government  of  Joshua,  how  he  pre¬ 
clear  that  Joshua  wrote  sided  as  general  of  their  armies,  1.  In  their  entrance  into  Canaan,  ch.  Hi-  -*5. 
it  himself.  2.  In  their  conquest  of  Canaan,  ch.  6  •  •  12.  3.  In  the  distribution  of  the  land  of 

Canaan  among  the  tribes  of  Israel,  ch.  13  ••  21.  4.  In  the  settlement  and  esta¬ 

blishment  of  religion  among  them,  ch.  22  •  •  24.  In  all  which  he  was  a  great  example  of  wisdom, 
courage,  fidelity,  and  piety,  to  all  that  are  in  places  of  public  trust  But  that  is  not  all  the  use  that 

Vol.  ii. — B. 


10 


JOSHUA,  1. 

is  to  be  made  of  this  history;  we  may  see  in  it,  (1.)  Much  of  God  and  his  providence;  his  power  In 
the  kingdom  of  nature;  his  justice  in  punishing  the  Canaanites  when  the  measure  of  their  iniquity  was 
full;  his  faithfulness  to  his  covenant  with  the  patriarchs;  and  his  kindness  to  his  people  Israel,  not¬ 
withstanding  their  provocations.  We  may  see  him  as  the  Lord  of  Hosts  determining  the.  issues  of  war, 
and  as  the  Director  of  the  lot,  determining  the  bounds  of  men’s  habitations.  (2.)  Much  of  Christ  send, 
his  grace.  Though  Joshua  is  not  expressly  mentioned  in  the  New  Testament  as  a  type  ot  Christ,  yet 
all  agree  that  he  was  a  very  eminent  one.  He  bore  our  Saviour's  name,  as  did  also  another  type  of 
him,  Joshua  the  High  Priest,  Zech.  6.  11,  12.  The  LXX.  giving  the  name  of  Joshua  a  Greek  termina¬ 
tion,  call  him  all  along,  ’i Jesus,  and  so  he  is  called,  Acts  7.  45.  and  Heb.  4.  8.  Justin  Martyr, 
one  of  the  first  writers  of  the  Christian  Church,  ( Dialog .  cum  Tryph.  p.  mihi  300)  makes  that  promise, 
Exod.  23.  20,  Mine  angel  shall  bring  thee  into  the  place  I  have  prepared,  to  point  at  Joshua;  and  these 
words,  My  name  is  in  him,  to  refer  to  this,  that  his  name  should  be  the  same  with  that  of  the  Messiah; 
it  signifies,  He  shall  save.  Joshua  saves  God’s  people  from  the  Canaanites;  our  Lord  Jesus  saves  them 
from  their  sins.  Christ,  as  Joshua,  is  the  Captain  of  our  Salvation,  a  Leader  and  Commander  of  the 
people,  to  tread  Satan  under  their  feet,  and  to  put  them  in  possession  of  the  heavenly  Canaan,  and  to 
give  them  rest,  which  (it  is  said,  Heb.  4.  8.)  Joshua  did  not. 


JOSHUA,  I. 


CHAP.  I. 

The  book  begins  with  the  history,  not  of  Joshua’s  life, 
(many  remarkable  passages  of  that  we  had  before  in  the 
books  of  Moses,)  but  of  his  reign  and  government.  In 
this  chapter,  I.  God  appoints  him  in  the  stead  of  Moses, 
gives  him  an  ample  commission,  full  instructions,  and 
great  encouragements,  v.  1..9.  II.  He  accepts  the 
government,  and  addresses  himself  immediately  to  the 
business  of  it,  giving  orders  to  the  officers  of  the  people 
in  general,  v.  10,  11.  And  particularly  to  the  two  tribes 
and  a  half,  v.  12..  15.  III.  The  people  agree  to  it,  and 
take  an  oath  of  fealty  to  him,  v.  16. .  18.  A  reign  which 
thus  began  with  God,  could  not  but  be  honourable  to 
the  prince,  and  comfortable  to  the  subject.  The  last 
words  of  Moses  are  still  verified,  Happy  art  thou,  O  Is¬ 
rael  !  who  is  like  unto  thee,  0  people  ?  Deut.  33.  29. 

NOW  after  the  death  of  Moses  the 
servant  of  the  Lord,  it  came  to 
pass,  that  the  Lord  spake  unto  Joshua  the 
son  of  Nun,  Moses’  minister,  saying,  2. 
Moses  my  servant  is  dead  ‘,  now  therefore 
arise,  go  over  this  Jordan,  thou,  and  all  this 
people,  unto  the  land  which  I  do  give  to 
them,  even  to  the  children  of  Israel.  3. 
Every  place  that  the  sole  of  your  foot  shall  i 
tread  upon,  that  have  I  given  unto  you,  as 
[  said  unto  Moses.  4.  From  the  wilder¬ 
ness  and  this  Lebanon,  even  unto  the  great 
river,  the  river  Euphrates,  all  the  land  of  the 
Hittites,  and  unto  the  great  sea  toward  the 
going  down  of  the  sun,  shall  be  your  coast. 
5.  J  here  shall  not  any  man  be  able  to  stand 
before  thee  all  the  days  of  thy  life :  as  I  was 
with  Moses,  so  I  will  be  with  thee :  1  will 
not  fail  thee,  nor  forsake  thee.  6.  Be  strong 
and  of  a  good  courage  ;  for  unto  this  people 
shaltthou  divide  for  an  inheritance  the  land, 
which  I  sware  unto  their  fathers  to  give 
them.  7.  Only  be  thou  strong  and  very 
courageous,  that  thou  mayest  observe  to  do 
according  to  all  the  law  which  Moses  my 
servant  commanded  thee :  turn  not  from  it 
tt)  Ae  right  hand  or  to  the  left,  that  thou 
mayest  prosper  whithersoever  thou  goest. 
8.  This  book  of  the  law  shall  not  depart 
out  of  thy  mouth  ;  but  thou  shalt  meditate 


therein  day  and  night,  that  thou  mayest  ob¬ 
serve  to  do  according  to  all  that  is  written 
therein  :  for  then  thou  shalt  make  thy  way 
prosperous,  and  then  thou  shalt  have  good 
success.  9.  Have  not  I  commanded  thee  ? 
Be  strong  and  of  a  good  courage ;  be  not 
afraid,  neither  be  thou  dismayed :  for  the 
Lord  thy  God  is  with  thee  whithersoever 
t  hou  goest. 

Honour  is  here  put  upon  Joshua,  and  great  power 
lodged  in  his  hand,  by  Him  that  is  the  Fountain  of 
honour  and  power,  and  by  whom  kings  reign;  in¬ 
structions  are  given  him  by  infinite  wisdom,  and  en¬ 
couragements  by  the  God  of  all  consolation.  God 
had  before  spoken  to  Moses  concerning  him,  Numb. 
27.  18.  But  now  he  speaks  to  him,  v.  1.  probably, 
as  he  spake  to  Moses,  Lev.  1.  1,  out  of  the  taberna¬ 
cle  of  the  congregation,  where  Joshua  had  with 
Moses  presented  himself,  Deut.  31.  14.  to  learn  the 
way  of  attending  there.  Though  Ele.izar  had  the 
J  breastplate  of  judgment,  which  Joshua  was  directed 
to  consult  as  there  was  occasion,  Numb.  27.  21. 
yet,  for  his  great  encouragement, God  here  speaks  to 
him  immediately,  .some  think,  in  a  dream  or  vision, 
(as  Job  33.  15.)  for  though  God  has  tied  us  to  in¬ 
stituted  ordinances,  in  them  to  attend  him,  yet  he 
has  not  tied  himself  to  them,  but  that  he  may, 

I  without  them,  make  himself  known  to  his  people, 
and  speak  to  their  hearts  otherwise  than  by  their 
ears. 

Concerning  Joshua’s  call  to  the  government,  eb 
serve  here, 

I.  The  time  when  ft  was  given  him,  sifter  the 
death  of  Moses.  As  soon  as  ever  Moses  was  dead, 
Joshua  took  upon  him  the  administration,  by  virtue 
of  his  solemn  ordination  in  Moses’s  life-time;  an  in¬ 
terregnum,  though  but  for  a  few  days,  might  have 
been  of  ill  consequence;  but,  it  is  probable,  that 
God  did  not  speak  to  him  to  go  forward  toward  Ca¬ 
naan,  till  after  the  thirty  days  of  mourning  for  Mo¬ 
ses  were  ended;  not,  as  the  Jews  say,  because  the 
sadness  of  his  spirit  during  those  days  unfitted  him 
for  communion  with  God;  (he  sorrowed  not  as  one 
that  had  no  hope;)  but  by  this  solemn  pause,  and 
a  month’s  adjournment  of  the  public  councils,  even 
now  when  time  was  so  very  precious  to  them,  God 
would  put  an  honour  upon  the  memory  of  Moses, 
and  give  time  to  the  people  not  only  to  lament  their 
loss  of  him,  but  to  repent  of  their  miscarriages 
toward  him  during  the  forty  years  of  his  govern¬ 
ment. 


JOSHUA,  1. 


i  J 


II.  The  place  Joshua  had  been  in  before  he  was 
thus  preferred.  He  was  Moses’s  minister,  that  is, 
an  immediate  attendant  upon  his  person  and  assis¬ 
tant  in  business.  The  LXX.  translate  it  un-h^ys;, 
a  workman  under  Moses,  under  his  direction  and 
command.  Observe,  1.  He  that  was  here  called  to 
honour,  had  been  long  bred  to  business.  Our  La  rd 
Jesus  himself  took  upon  him  the  form  of  a  servant, 
and  then  God  highly  exalted  him.  2.  He  was 
trained  up  in  subjection,  and  under  command. 
Those  are  fittest  to  rule,  that  have  learnt  to  obey. 
3  He  that  was  to  succeed  Moses  was  intimately 
acquainted  with  him,  that  he  might  fully  know  'his 
doctrine  and  manner  of  life,  his  purpose  and  long- 
suffering,  (2  Tim.  3.  10.)  might  take  the  same 
measures,  walk  in  the  same  spirit,  in  the  same  steps, 
having  to  carry  on  the  same  work.  4.  He  was  here¬ 
in  a  type  of  Christ,  who  might  therefore  be  called 
Moses’s  Minister,  because  he  was  made  under  the 
law,  and  fulfilled  all  the  righteousness  of  it. 

III.  The  call  itself  that  God  gave  him,  which  is 
very  full. 

1.  The  consideration  upon  which  he  was  called 
to  the  government;  Moses  my  servant  is  dead,  v.  2. 
All  good  men  are  God’s  servants;  and  it  is  no  dis¬ 
paragement,  but  an  honour,  to  the  greatest  of  men 
to  be  so;  angels  themselves  are  his  ministers.  Moses 
was  called  to  extraordinary  work,  was  a  steward  in 
God’s  house,  and  in  the  discharge  of  the  trusts  re¬ 
posed  in  him,  lie  served  not  himself  but  God  who 
employed  him;  he  was  faithful  as  a  servant,  and 
with  an  eye  to  the  Son,  as  is  intimated,  Heb.  3.  5. 
where  what  he  did,  is  said  to  be  for  a  testimony  of 
the  things  that  should  hes/ioken  after;  God  will  own 
his  servants,  will  confess  them  in  the  great  day. 
Sut  Moses,  though  God’s  servant,  and  one  that 
could  ill  be  spared,  is  dead;  for  God  will  change 
hands,  to  show  that  whatever  instruments  he  uses, 
he  is  not  tied  to  any.  Moses,  when  he  has  done  his 
work  as  a  servant,  dies  and  goes  to  rest  from  his  la¬ 
bours,  and  enters  into  the  joy  of  his  Lord.  Observe, 
God  takes  notice  of  the  death  of  his  servants.  It  is 
pretious  in  his  sight,  Ps.  116.  15. 

2.  The  call  itself;  Now  therefore  arise.  (1.) 
Though  Moses  is  dead,  the  wo  k  must  go  on,  there- 
fire  arise,  and  go  about  it.  Let  not  weeping  hinder 
sowing,  nor  the  withering  of  the  most  useful  hands 
be  the  we  ikening  of  our’s;  for  when  God  has  w;  rk 
to  do,  he  will  either  find  or  make  instruments  fit  to 
carry  it  on.  Moses,  the  servant  is  dead,  but  God 
the  Master  is  not,  he  liv  es  for  ever.  (2.)  “  Because 
Moses  is  dead,  therefore  the  work  devolves  upon 
thee  as  his  successor,  for  hereunto  thou  wast  ap¬ 
pointed.  Therefore  there  is  need  of  thee  to  fill  up 
his  place,  Up,  and  be  doing.”  Note,  [1.]  The  re¬ 
moval  of  useful  men  should  quicken  survivors  to  be 
s'1  much  the  more  diligent  in  doing  good.  Such  and 
such  are  dead,  and  we  must  die  shortly,  therefore 
let  us  work  while  it  is  day.  [2.]  It  is  a  great  mercy 
to  a  people,  if,  when  useful  men  are  take!)  away  in 
the  midst  of  their  tisefulness,  others  are  raised  up 
in  their  stead  to  go  on  where  they  broke  off.  Joshua 
must  arise  to  finish  what  Moses  began,  thus  the  lat¬ 
ter  generations  enter  into  the  labours  of  the  former. 
And  thus  Christ,  our  Joshua,  does  that  for  us  which 
could  never  be  done  by  the  law  of  Moses;  justifies. 
Acts  13.  39.  and  sanctifies,  Rom.  8.  3.  The  life  of 
Moses  made  way  for  Joshua,  and  prepared  the  peo¬ 
ple  for  what  was  to  be  done  by  him:  thus  the  law  is 
a  schoolmaster  to  bring  us  to  Christ.  And  then  the 
death  of  Moses  made  room  for  Joshua:  thus  we  are 
dead  to  the  law  our  first  husband,  that  we  may  be 
married  to  Christ,  Rom.  7.  4. 

3.  The  particular  service  he  was  now  called  out 
to.  “  Arise,  go  over  this  Jordan,  this  river,  which 
vou  have  in  view,  and  on  the  banks  of  which  you  lie 
encamped.  ”  This  was  a  trial  to  the  faith  of  Joshua, 


whether  he  would  giv  e  orders  to  make  preparation 
for  passing  the  river,  when  there  was  no  visible  way 
of  getting  over  it,  at  least,  not  at  this  place  and  at 
this  time,  when  all  the  banks  were  overflown,  ch.  3. 
15.  He  had  no  pontons  or  bridge  of  boats  by  which 
to  convey  them  over,  aud  yet  he  must  believe,  that 
God,  having  ordered  them  over,  would  open  a  way 
for  them.  Going  over  Jordan  was  going  into  Ca¬ 
naan;  thither  Moses  might  not,  could  not,  bring  them, 
Deut.  31.  2.  Thus  the  honour  of  bringing  the  ma¬ 
ny  sons  to  glory  is  reserved  for  Christ  the  Captain 
of  our  salvation,  Heb.  2.  10. 

4.  The  grant  of  the  land  of  Canaan  to  the  children 

of  Israel  is  here  repeated,  m.  2. .  4.  I  do  give  it  them. 
To  the  patriarchs  it  was  promised,  I  will  give  it, 
but  now  that  the  fourth  generation  was  expired,  the 
iniquity  of  the  Amorites  was  full,  and  the  time  was 
come  for  the  performance  of  the  promise,  it  is  actu¬ 
ally  conveyed,  and  they  are  put  in  possession  of  that 
which  they  had  long  been  in  expectation  of,  “  I  do 
give  it,  enter  upon  it,  it  is  all  your  own,  nay,  v.  3. 
I  have  given  it;  though  it  be  yet  unconquered,  it  is 
as  sure  to  you  as  if  it  were  in  your  hands.  ”  Observe, 
(1.)  The  persons  to  whom  the  conveyance  is  made, 
to  them,  even  to  the  .children  of  Israel,  v.  2.  because 
they  are  the  seed  of  Jacob,  who  was  called  Israel 
then  when  this  promise  was  made  to  him,  Gen.  35. 
10,  12.  The  children  of  Israel,  though  they  had 
been  very  provoking  in  the  wilderness,  yet  for  their 
fathers’  sakes  should  have  the  entail  preserved. 
And  it  was  the  children  of  the  murmurers  that  God 
said  should  enter  Canaan,  Numb.  14.  31.  (2.)  The 

land  itself  that  is  conveyed,  from  the  river  Euphrates 
eastward  to  the  Mediterranean  sea  westward,  v.  A. 
Though  their  sin  cut  them  short  of  this  large  pos¬ 
session,  and  they  never  replenished  all  the  country 
within  the  bounds  here  mentioned;  yet  had  they 
been  obedient,  God  would  have  given  them  this  and 
much  more.  Out  of  all  these  countries,  and  many 
others,  there  were  in  process  of  time  pi’oselytes  to 
the  Jewish  religion,  as  appears,  Acts  2.  5,  &c.  If 
their  church  was  enlarged,  though  their  nation  was 
not  multiplied,  it  cannot  be  said  that  the  promise 
was  of  none  effect.  And  if  this  promise  had  not  its 
full  accomplishment  in  the  letter,  believers  might 
thence  infer  that  it  had  a  further  meaning,  and  was 
to  be  fulfilled  in  the  kingdom  of  the  Messiah,  both 
that  of  grace  and  that  of  glory.  (3.)  The  condition 
is  here  implied,  upon  which  this  grant  is  made,  in 
those  words,  as  I  said  unto  Moses,  that  is,  “  upon 
the  terms  that  Moses  told  you  of  many  a  time;  if  ye 
null  keep  my  statutes,  you  shall  go  in  and  possess 
that  good  land.  Take  it  under  those  provisos  and 
limitations,  and  not  otherwise.  The  precept  and 
promise  must  not  be  separated.”  (4.)  It  is  intimat¬ 
ed  with  what  ease  they  should  gain  the  possession 
■  f  this  land,  if  it  were  not  their  own  fault,  in  these 
words,  “  Every  place  that  the  sole  of  your  foot  shall 
tread  upon  (within  the  following  bounds)  shall  be 
your  own.  Do  but  set  your  foot  upon  it,  and  you 
shall  have  it.” 

5.  The  prom'ses  God  here  makes  to  Joshua  for 
his  encouragement.  (1. )  That  he  should  be  sure  of 
the  presence  of  God  with  him  in  this  great  work  to 
which  he  was  called,  v.  5.  “  As  I  was  with  Moses 
to  direct  and  strengthen  him,  to  own  and  prosper 
him,  and  give  him  success  in  bringing  Israel  out  r f 
Egypt,  and  leading  them  through  the  wilderness,  so 
I  will  be  with  thee  to  enable  thee  to  settle  them  in 
Canaan.”  Joshua  was  sensible  how  far  he  came 
short  of  Moses,  in  wisdom  and  grace,  but  what  Mo¬ 
ses  did,  was  clone  by  virtue  of  the  presence  of  God 
with  him;  and  though  Joshua  had  not  always  the 
same  presence  of  mind  that  Moses  had,  yet  if  he  had 
always  the  same  presence  of  God,  he  would  do  well 
enough.  Note,  It  is  a  great  comfort  to  the  rising 
generation  of  ministers  and  Christians,  that  the  same 


12 


JOSHUA,  i. 


grace  which  was  sufficient  for  those  that  went  before 
them,  shall  not  be  wanting  to  them,  if  they  be  not 
wanting  to  themselves  in  the  improvement  of  it.  It 
is  repeated  here  again,  v.  9.  “  The  Lord  thy  God 
is  with  thee  as  a  God  of  power,  and  that  power  en¬ 
gaged  for  thee  whithersoever  thou  goest.  ”  Note, 
Those  that  go  where  God  sends  them,  shall  have 
him  with  them  wherever  they  go,  and  they  need  de¬ 
sire  no  more  to  make  them  easy  and  prosperous. 
(2. )  That  the  presence  of  God  should  never  be  with¬ 
drawn  from  him,  I  will  not  fail  thee,  nor  forsake 
thee,  v.  5.  Moses  had  assured  him  of  this,  Deut. 
31.  8.  that  though  he  must  now  leave  him,  God 
never  would;  and  here  God  himself  confirms  that 
word  of  his  servant  Moses,  (Isa.  44.  26. )  and  en¬ 
gages  never  to  leave  Joshua.  We  need  the  presence 
ot  God,  not  only  when  we  are  beginning  our  work 
to  set  us  in,  but  in  the  progress  of  it  to  further  us 
with  a  continual  help.  If  that  at  any  time  fail  us, 
we  ai  e  gone;  but  this  we  may  be  sure  of,  that  the 
Lord  is  with  us  while  we  are  with  him.  This  pro¬ 
mise  here  made  to  Joshua  is  applied  to  all  believers, 
and  improved  as  an  argument  against  covetousness, 
Heb.  13.  5,  Be  content  with  such  things  as  ye  have, 
for  he  hath  said,  I  will  never  leave  thee.  (3. )  That 
he  should  have  victory  over  all  the  enemies  of  Israel, 
v.  5.  There  shall  not  any  man,  that  comes  against 
thee,  be  able  to  stand  before  thee.  Note,  There  is 
no  standing  before  those  that  have  God  on  their 
side;  If  he  be  for  us,  who  can  be  against  us?  God 
promises  him  clear  success,  the  enemy  should  not 
make  any  head  against  him;  and  constant  success, 
all  the  days  of  his  life;  however  it  might  be  with  Is¬ 
rael  when  he  was  gone,  all  his  reign  should  be  grac¬ 
ed  with  triumphs.  What  Joshua  had  himself  en¬ 
couraged  the  people  with  long  ago,  Numb.  14.  9. 
God  here  encourages  him  with.  (4.)  That  he 
should  himself  have  the  dividing  of  this  land  among 
the  people  of  Israel,  v.  6.  It  was  a  great  encou¬ 
ragement  to  him  in  beginning  this  work,  that  he  was 
sure  to  see  it  finished,  and  his  labour  should  not  be 
in  vain.  Some  make  it  a  reason  why  he  should  arm 
himself  with  resolution,  and  be  of  good  courage,  be¬ 
cause  of  the  bad  character  of  the  people  whom  he 
must  cause  to  inherit  that  land;  he  knew  well  what 
a  froward  discontented  people  they  were,  and  how 
unmanageable  they  had  been  in  his  predecessor’s 
time;  let  him  therefore  expect  vexation  from  them 
and  be  of  good  courage. 

6.  The  charge  and  command  he  gives  to  Joshua, 
which  is, 

(1.)  That  he  conform  himself  in  every  thing  to 
the  law  of  God,  and  make  that  his  rule,  v.  7,  8. 
God  does  as  it  were  put  the  book  of  the  law  into 
Toshua’s  hand;  as  when  Joash  was  crowned,  they 
gave  him  the  testimony,  2  Kings  11.  12.  And  con¬ 
cerning  this  book,  he  is  charged,  [1.]  To  meditate 
therein  day  and  night.,  that  he  might  understand  it, 
and  have  it  ready  to  him  upon  all  occasions.  If  ever 
any  man’s  business  might  have  excused  him  from 
meditation,  and  other  acts  of  devotion,  one  would 
think  that  Joshua’s  might  at  this  time;  it  was  a  great 
trust  that  was  lodged  in  his  hands,  the  care  of  it  was 
enough  to  fill  him,  if  he  had  ten  souls,  and  yet  he 
must  find  time  and  thoughts  for  meditation.  What¬ 
ever  affairs  of  this  world  we  have  to  mind,  we  must 
not  neglect  the  one  thing  needful.  [2.]  Not  to  let 
it  depart  out  of  his  mouth,  that  is,  all  his  orders  to 
the  people,  and  his  judgments  upon  appeals  made 
to  him,  must  be  consonant  to  the  law  of  God;  upon 
all  occasions  he  must  s/ieak  according  to  this  rule; 
Isa.  8.  20.  Joshua  was  to  maintain  and  carry  on  the 
work  that  Moses  had  begun,  and  therefore  he  must 
not  only  complete  the  salvation  Moses  had  wrought 
for  them,  but  must  uphold  the  holy  religion  he  had 
established  among  them.  There  was  no  occasion 
to  make  new  laws,  but  that  good  thing  which  was 


committed  to  him,  he  must  carefully  and  faithfully 
keep,  2  Tim.  1.  14.  [3.]  He  must  observe  to  do 

according  to  all  this  taw.  To  this  end  he  must 
meditate  therein,  not  for  contemplation  sake  only, 
or  to  fill  his  head  with  notions,  or  that  he  might  find 
something  to  puzzle  the  priests  with,  but  that  he 
might  both  as  a  man  and  as  a  magistrate  observe  to 
do  according  to  what  was  written  therein;  and  se¬ 
veral  things  were  written  there,  which  had  particu¬ 
lar  reference  to  the  business  he  had  now  before  him, 
as  the  laws  concerning  their  wars,  the  destroying 
of  the  Canaanites,  and  the  dividing  of  Canaan,  &c. 
these  he  must  religiously  observe.  Joshua  was  a 
man  of  great,  power  and  authority,  yet  he  must  him¬ 
self  be  under  command  and  do  as  he  is  bidden.  No 
man’s  dignity  or  dominion,  how  great  soever,  sets 
him  above  the  law  of  God.  Joshua  must  not  only 
govern  by  law,  and  take  care  that  the  people  ob¬ 
serve  the  law,  but  he  must  observe  it  himself,  and 
so  by  his  own  example  maintain  the  honour  and 
power  of  it.  First,  He  must  do  what  was  written;  it 
is  not  enough  to  hear  and  read  the  word,  to  com¬ 
mend  and  admire  it,  and  know  and  remember  it,  to 
talk  and  discourse  of  it,  but  we  must  do  it.  Second¬ 
ly,  He  must  do  according  to  what  was  written,  exact¬ 
ly  observing  the  law  as  his  copy,  and  doing,  not  only 
that  which  was  there  required,  but  in  all  circum¬ 
stances  according  to  the  appointment.  Thirdly, 
He  must  do  according  to  all  that  was  written,  with¬ 
out  exception  or  reserve,  having  a  respect  to  all 
God’s  commandments,  even  those  which  are  most 
displeasing  to  flesh  and  blood.  Fourthly,  He  must 
observe  to  do  so,  observe  the  checks  of  conscience, 
the  hints  of  providence,  and  all  the  advantages  of 
opportunity:  careful  observance  is  necessary  to  uni¬ 
versal  obedience.  Fifthly,  He  must  not  turn  from 
it,  either  in  his  own  practice,  or  in  any  act  of  go¬ 
vernment,  to  the  right  hand  or  to  the  left,  for  there 
are  errors  on  both  hands,  and  virtue  is  in  the  mean. 
Sixthly,  He  must  be  strong  and  courageous,  that 
he  may  do  according  to  the  law.  So  many  discou¬ 
ragements  there  are  in  the  way  of  duty,  that  those 
who  will  proceed  and  persevere  in  it,  must  put  on 
resolution.  And  ( lastly )  to  encourage  him  in  his 
obedience,  he  assures  him,  that  then  he  shall  do 
wisely,  (as  it  is  in  the  margin,)  and  make  his  way 
prosperous,  v.  7.  8.  They  that  make  the  word  of 
God  their  rule,  and  conscientiously  walk  by  that 
rule,  shall  both  do  well  and  speed  well ;  it  will  fur¬ 
nish  them  with  the  best  maxims  by  which  to  order 
their  conversation,  Ps.  111.  10.  And  it  will  entitle 
them  to  the  best  blessings;  God  shall  give  them  the 
desire  o  f  their  heart. 

(2.)  That  he  encourage  himself  herein  with  the 
promise  and  presence  of  God,  and  make  those  his 
stay,  v.  6,  Be  strong  and  of  a  good  courage.  And 
again,  v.  7.  as  if  this  was  the  one  thing  needful, 
onlu  be  strong  and  very  courageous.  And  he  con¬ 
cludes  with  this,  v.  9,  Be  strong  and  of  a  good  cou¬ 
rage;  be  not  afraid,  neither  be  thou  dismayed. 
Joshua  had  long  since  signalized  his  valour  in  the 
war  with  Amalek,  and  in  his  dissent  from  the  report 
of  the  evil  spies,  and  yet  Gcd  sees  fit  thus  to  incul¬ 
cate  this  precept  upon  him.  Those  that  have  grace, 
have  need  to  be  called  upon  again  and  again  to  ex¬ 
ercise  grace  and  to  improve  in  it.  Joshua  was  hum¬ 
ble  and  low  in  his  own  eyes,  not  distrustful  of  God, 
and  his  power,  and  promise,  but  diffident  of  himself, 
and  of  his  own  wisdom,  and  strength,  and  sufficiency 
for  the  work,  especially  coming  after  so  great  a  man 
as  Moses;  and  therefore  God  repeats  this  so  often, 
“  Be  strong  and  of  a  good  courage;  let  not  the  sense 
of  thine  own  infirmities  dishearten  thee,  God  is  all- 
sufficient.  Have  not  I  commanded  thee?  [1.]  “I 
have  commanded  the  work  to  be  done,  and  therefore 
it  shall'be  done,  how  invincible  soever  the  difficulties 
may  seem  that  lie  in  the  way.”  Nay,  [2.]  “I  have 


13 


JOSHUA,  I. 


commanded,  called,  and  commissioned,  thee  to  do  it, 
and  therefore  will  be  sure  to  own  thee  and  strength¬ 
en  thee,  and  bear  thee  out  in  it.”  Note,  When  we 
are  in  the  way  of  our  duty,  we  have  reason  to  be 
strong  and.  -very  courageous ;  and  it  will  help  very 
much  to  animate  and  embolden  us,  if  we  keep  our 
eye  upon  the  divine  warrant,  and  hear  God  saying, 
“ Have  not  I  commanded  thee?  I  will  therefore  help 
thee,  succeed  thee,  accept  thee,  reward  thee.”  Our 
Lord  Jesus,  as  Joshua  here,  was  borne  up  under  his 
sufferings  by  a  regard  to  the  will  of  God,  and  the 
commandment  he  had  received  from  his  Father , 
John  10.  18. 

10.  Then  Joshua  commanded  the  officers 
of  the  people,  saying,  1 1 .  Pass  through  the 
host,  and  command  the  people,  saying,  Pre¬ 
pare  your  victuals ;  for  within  three  days  ye 
shall  pass  over  this  Jordan,  to  go  in  to  pos¬ 
sess  the  land,  which  the  Lord  your  God 
giveth  you  to  possess  it.  12.  And  to  the 
Reubenites,  and  to  the  Gadites,  and  to  half 
the  tribe  of  Manasseh,  spake  Joshua,  say¬ 
ing,  1 3.  Remember  the  word  which  Moses 
the  servant  of  the  Lord  commanded  you, 
saying.  The  Lord  your  God  hath  given  you 
rest,  and  hath  given  you  this  land.  14. 
Your  wives,  your  little  ones,  and  your  cat¬ 
tle,  shall  remain  in  the  land  which  Moses 
gave  you  on  this  side  Jordan  ;  but  ye  shall 
pass  before  your  brethren  armed,  all  the 
mighty  men  of  valour,  and  help  them,  15. 
Until  the  Lord  have  given  your  brethren 
rest,  as  he  hath  given  you,  and  they  also  have 
possessed  the  land  which  the  Lord  your 
God  giveth  them:  then  ye, shall  return  unto 
the  land  of  your  possession,  and  enjoy  it, 
which  Moses,  the  Lord’s  servant,  gave  you 
on  this  side  Jordan,  toward  the  sun-rising. 

Joshua,  being  settled  in  the  government,  imme¬ 
diately  applies  himself  to  business;  not  to  take 
state  or  to  take  his  pleasures,  but  to  further  the 
work  of  God  among  the  people  over  which  God 
had  set  him.  As  he  that  desires  the  office  of  a  min¬ 
ister,  (1  Tim.  3.  1.)  so  he  that  desires  the  office  of 
a  magistrate,  desires  a  work,  a  good  work;  neither 
is  preferred  to  be  idle. 

I.  He  issues  out  orders  to  the  people  to  provide 
for  a  march;  and  they  had  been  so  long  encamped 
in  their  present  post,  that  it  would  be  a  work  of 
some  difficulty  to  decamp.  The  officers  of  the 
people  that  commanded  under  Joshua  in  their  re¬ 
spective  tribes  and  families,  attended  him  for  or¬ 
ders  which  they  were  to  transmit  to  the  people. 
Inferior  magistrates  are  as  necessary  and  as  ser¬ 
viceable  to  the  public  good  in  their  places  as  the  su¬ 
preme  magistrate  in  his.  What  would  Joshua  have 
done  without  officers?  We  are  therefore  required 
to  be  subject,  n  t  only  to  the  king  as  supreme,  but 
to  governors,  as  to  them  that  are  sent  by  him,  1  Pet. 
2.  13,14.  By  these  officers,  1.  Joshua  gives  public 
notice,  that  they  were  to  fiass  over  Jordan  within 
three  days.  These  orders,  I  suppose,  were  not 
given  till  after  the  return  of  the  spies  that  were 
sent  to  bring  an  account  of  Jericho,  though  the  story 
of  that  affair  follows,  ch.  2.  And  perhaps  that  was 
such  an  instance  of  his  jealousy,  and  excessive  cau¬ 
tion,  as  made  it  necessary  that  he  should  be  so  often 
hidden  as  he  was,  to  be  strong  and  of  a  good  cou¬ 
rage.  Observe  with  what  assurance  Joshua  says  it 


to  the  people,  because  God  had  said  to  him,  Ye 
shall  pass  over  Jordan,  and  shall  possess  the  land. 
We  greatly  honour  the  truth  of  God,  when  we  stag¬ 
ger  not  at  the  promise  of  God.  2.  He  gives  them  di¬ 
rections  to  prepare  victuals,  not  to  prepare  transport 
vessels;  he  that  bore  them  out  of  Egypt  upon  ea¬ 
gles’  wings,  would  in  like  manner  bear  them  into 
Canaan,  to  bring  them  to  himself,  Exod.  19.  4.  But 
those  that  were  minded  to  have  other  victuals  be¬ 
side  the  manna,  which  had  not  yet  ceased,  must 
prepare  it,  and  have  it  ready  against  the  time  ap¬ 
pointed.  Perhaps,  though  the  manna  did  not  quite 
cease  till  they  were  come  into  Canaan,  ch.  5.  12. 
yet  since  they  were  come  into  a  land  inhabited, 
(Exod.  16.  35.)  where  they  might  be  furnished  in 
part  with  other  provisions,  it  did  not  fall  so  plenti- 
fullv,  nor  did  they  gather  so  much  as  when  they 
had’  it  first  given  them  in  the  wilderness,  but  de¬ 
creased  gradually,  and  therefore  they  are  ordered 
to  provide  other  victuals,  in  which  perhaps  was  in¬ 
cluded  all  other  things  necessary  to  their  march.  And 
some  of  the  Jewish  writers  considering  that  having 
manna,  they  needed  not  to  provide  other  victuals, 
understand  it  figuratively,  that  they  must  repent  oj 
their  sins,  and  make  their  peace  with  God,  and  re¬ 
solve  to  live  a  new  life,  that  they  might  be  ready 
to  receive  this  great  favour.  See  Exod.  19.  10,  11. 

II.  He  reminds  the  two  tribes  and  a  half  of  the 
obligation  they  were  under  to  go  over  Jordan  with 
their  brethren,  though  they  left  their  possessions 
and  families  on  this  side.  Interest  would  make  the 
other  tribes  glad  to  go  over  Jordan,  but  in  these  it 
was  an  act  of  self-denial,  and  against  the  grain: 
therefore  it  was  needful  to  produce  the  agreement 
which  Moses  had  made  with  them,  when  he  gave 
them  their  possession  before  their  brethren,  v.  13, 
Remember  the  word  which  Moses  commanded  you. 
Some  of  them  perhaps  were  ready  to  think  now 
that  Moses  was  dead,  who  they  thought  was  too 
hard  upon  them  in  this  matter,  they  might  find 
some  excuse  or  other  to  discharge  themselves  from 
this  engagement,  or  might  prevail  with  Joshua  to 
dispense  with  them;  but  he  holds  them  to  it,  and 
lets  them  know,  though  Moses  was  dead,  his  com¬ 
mands  and  their  promises  were  still  in  full  force. 
He  reminds  them,  1.  Of  the  advantages  they  had 
received  in  being  first  settled:  “  The  Lord  your 
God  hath  given  you  rest,  given  your  minds  rest, 
you  know  what  you  have  to  trust  to,  and  are  not  as 
the  rest  of  the  tribes,  waiting  the  issue  of  the  war 
first  and  then  of  the  lot.  He  has  also  given  your 
families  rest,  your  wives  and  children,  whose  settle¬ 
ment  is  your  satisfaction.  He  has  given  you  rest, 
by  giving  you  this  land,  this  good  land,  which  you 
are  in  full  and  quiet  possession  of.”  Note,  When 
God  by  his  providence  has  given  us  rest,  we  ought  to 
consider  how  we  may  honour  him  with  the  advan¬ 
tages  of  it,  and  what  service  we  may  do  to  our 
brethren  who  are  unsettled,  or  not  so  well  settled 
as  we  are.  When  God  had  given  David  rest,  (2 
Sam.  7.  1.)  see  how  restless  he  was  till  he  had 
found  out  a  habitation  for  the  ark,  Ps.  132.  4,  5. 
When  God  has  given  us  rest,  we  must  take  heed  of 
slothfulness,  and  of  settling  upon  our  lees.  2.  He 
reminds  them  of  their  agreement  to  help  their  breth¬ 
ren  in  the  wars  of  Canaan,  till  God  had  in  like  man¬ 
ner  given  them  rest,  v.  14,  15.  This  was,  (1.) 
reasonable  in  itself;  so  closely  were  all  the  tribes 
incorporated,  that  they  must  needs  look  upon  them¬ 
selves  as  members  one  of  another.  (2.)  It  was  en¬ 
joined  them  by  Moses,  the  servant  of  the  Lord;  he 
commanded  them  to  do  this,  and  Joshua  his  succes¬ 
sor  would  see  his  commands  observed.  (3.)  It  was 
the  only  expedient  they  had  to  save  themselves 
from  the  guilt  of  a  great  sin  in  settling  on  that 
side  Jordan,  a  sin  which  would  one  time  or  other 
find  them  out,  Numb.  32.  23.  (4  )  It  was  the  con- 


14 


JOSHUA,  II. 


dition  of  the  grantMoses  had  made  them  of  the  land 
they  were  possessed  of,  so  that  they  could  not  be 
sure  of  a  good  title  to,  or  a  comfortable  enjoyment 
of,  the  land  of  their  possession,  as  it  is  here  called, 
v.  15.  if  they  did  not  fulfil  the  condition.  (5.) 
They  themselves  had  covenanted  and  agreed  there¬ 
unto,  Numb.  32.  25,  Thy  servants  will  do  as  my 
lord  commandeth.  Thus  we  all  lie  under  manifold 
obligations  to  strengthen  the  hands  one  of  another, 
and  not  to  seek  our  own  welfare  only  but  one  an¬ 
other’s. 

16.  And  they  answered  Joshua,  saying, 
All  that  thou  commandest  us  we  will  do, 
and  whithersoever  thou  sendest  us  we  will 
go.  1 7.  According  as  we  hearkened  unto 
Moses  in  all  things,  so  will  we  hearken 
unto  thee :  only  the  Lord  thy  God  be  with 
thee,  as  he  was  with  Moses.  18.  Whoso¬ 
ever  he  he  that  doth  rebel  against  thy  com¬ 
mandment,  and  will  not  hearken  unto  thy 
words  in  all  that  thou  commandest  him,  he 
shall  be  put  to  death :  only  be  strong  and 
of  a  good  courage. 

This  answer  was  not  given  by  the  two  tribes  and 
a  half  only,  (though  they  are  spoken  of  immedi¬ 
ately  before,)  but  by  the  officers  of  all  the  people, 
{y.  10.)  as  their  representatives,  concurring  with 
the  divine  appointment,  by  which  Joshua  was  set 
over  them,  and  they  did  it  heartily,  and  with  a  great 
deal  of  cheerfulness  and  resolution. 

1.  They  promise  him  obedience,  v.  16.  not  only 
as  subjects  to  their  prince,  but  as  soldiers  to  their 
general,  of  whose  particular  orders  they  are  to  be 
observant;  he  that  hath  soldiers  under  him,  saith  to 
this  man,  Go,  and  he  goeth;  and  to  another.  Come, 
and  he  cometh;  Matt.  8.  9.  Thus  the  people  of  Is¬ 
rael  here  engage  themselves  to  J.shui,  “all  that 
thou  con.mandest  us  to  do  vae  will  readily  do,  with¬ 
out  murmuring  or  disputing;  and  whithersoever 
thou  sendest  us,  though  upon  the  most  difficult  and 
perilous  expedition,  we  will  go.”  We  must  thus 
swear  allegiance  to  our  Lord  Jesus,  as  the  Captain 
of  our  salvation,  and  bind  ourselves  to  do  what  he 
commands  us  by  his  word,  and  to  go  whither  he 
sends  us  by  his  providence. 

And  since  Joshua,  being  humbly  conscious  to  him¬ 
self  how  far  short  he  came  of  Moses,  feared  he 
should  not  have  such  influence  upon  the  people,  and 
such  an  interest  in  them,  as  Moses  had,  they  here 
promise  that  they  would  be  as  obedient  to  him  as 
ever  they  had  been  to  Moses,  v.  17.  To  speak 
truth,  they  had  no  reason  to  boast  of  their  obedience 
to  Moses,  he  had  found  them  a  stiff-necked  people, 
Deut.  9.  24.  But  they  mean  that  they  would  be  as 
observant  of  Joshua  as  they  should  have  been,  and 
as  some  of  them  were  (the  generality  of  them  at 
least  sometimes)  of  Moses.  Note,  We  must  not  so 
magnify  them  that  are  gone,  how  eminent  soever 
they  were,  either  in  the  magistracy  or  in  the  minis¬ 
try,  as  to  be  wanting  in  the  honour  and  duty  we  owe 
to  those  that  survive  and  succeed  them,  though  in 
gifts  they  may  come  short  of  them.  Obedience 
for  conscience  sake  will  continue,  though  Provi¬ 
dence  change  the  hands  by  which  it  rules  and  acts. 

2.  They  pray  for  the  presence  of  God  with  him, 

v.  17.  **  Only  the  Lord  thy  God  be  with  thee,  to 

bless  and  prosper  thee,  and  give  thee  success,  as  he 
was  with  Moses.”  Prayers  and  supplications  are 
to  be  made  for  all  in  authority,  1  Tim.  2.  1,  2.  And 
the  best  thing  we  can  ask  of  God  for  our  magis¬ 
trates,  is,  that  they  may  have  the  presence  of  God 
with  them;  that  will  make  them  blessings  to  us,  so 


that  in  seeking  this  for  them,  we  consult  our  own 
interest.  A  reason  is  here  intimated,  why  they 
would  obey  him  as  they  had  obeyed  Moses,  because 
they  believed  (and  in  faith  prayed)  that  God’s  pre¬ 
sence  would  be  with  him  as  it  was  with  Moses. 
Those  that  we  have  reason  to  think  have  favoui 
I  from  God,  should  have  honour  and  respect  from  us. 

;  Some  understand  it  as  a  limitation  of  their  obedi¬ 
ence;  “  We  will  obey  only  as  far  as  we  perceive 
the  Lord  is  with  thee,  but  no  further.  While  thou 
keepest  close  to  God,  he  w'ill  keep  close  to  thee  ; 
hitherto  shall  our  obedience  come,  but  no  further.” 
j  But  they  were  so  far  from  having  any  suspicion  cf 
Joshua’s  deviating  from  the  div  ine  rule,  that  there 
|  needed  not  such  a  proviso. 

3.  They  pass  an  act  to  make  it  death  to  any  Is¬ 
raelite  to  disobey  Joshua’s  orders,  or  rebel  against 
his  commandment,  v.  18.  Perhaps,  if  such  a  law 
had  been  made  in  Moses’s  time,  it  might  have  pre¬ 
vented  many  of  the  rebellions  that  were  formed 
against  him,  for  most  men  fear  the  sword  of  the  ma¬ 
gistrate  more  than  the  justice  of  God.  Yet  there 
was  a  special  reason  for  the  making  of  this  law,  now 
that  they  were  entering  upon  the  wars  cf  Canaan, 
for  in  time  of  war  the  severity  of  military  discipline 
is  more  necessaiy  than  at  other  times.  Some  think 
that  in  this  statute  they  have  an  eye  to  that  law 
concerning  the  prophet  God  would  raise  up  like 
unto  Moses,  which  they  think,  though  it  refer 
chiefly  to  Christ  yet  takes  in  Joshua  by  the  way, 
as  a  type  of  him,  that  whosoever  would  not  hear¬ 
ken  to  him,  should  be  cut  off  from  his  people,  Deut. 
18.  19.  I  will  require  it  of  him. 

4.  They  animate  him  to  go  on  with  cheerfulness 
in  the  work  to  which  God  had  called  him;  and,  in 
desiring  that  he  would  be  strong  and  of  a  good  cou¬ 
rage,  they  do  in  effect  promise  him  that  they  would 
do  all  they  could,  by  an  exact,  bold  and  cheerful  ob¬ 
servance  of  all  his  orders,  to  encourage  him.  It 
very  much  heartens  those  that  lead  in  a  good  work, 
to  see  those  that  follow,  follow  with  a  good  will. 
Joshua,  though  of  approved  valour,  did  not  take  it 
as  an  affront,  but  as  a  great  kindness,  for  the  peo 
pie  to  bid  him  be  strong  and  of  a  good  courage. 

CHAP.  II. 

In  this  we  have  an  account  of  the  scouts  that  were  em¬ 
ployed  to  bring  an  account  to  Joshua  of  the  pasture 
of  the  city  of  Jerrcho :  Observe  here,  I.  How  Joshua 
sent  them,  v.  1.  II.  How  Rahab  received  them,  and 
protected  them,  and  told  a  lie  for  them,  v.  2. .  7.  so  that 
they  escaped  out  of  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  III.  The 
account  she  gave  them  of  the  present  posture  of  Jericho, 
and  the  panic-fear  they  were  struck  with  upon  the  approach 
of  Israel,  v.  8. .  11.  IV.  The  bargain  she  made  with 
them  for  the  security  of  herself  and  her  relations  in  the 
ruin  she  saw  coming  upon  her  city,  v.  12.  .21.  V.  Their 
safe  return  to  Joshua,  and  the  account  they  gave  him  of 
their  expedition,  v.  22. .  24.  And  that  which  makes  this 
story  most  remarkable,  is,  that  Rahab,  the  person  prin¬ 
cipally  concerned  in  it,  is  twice  celebrated  in  the  New 
Testament  as  a  great  believer,  Heb.  11.  31.  and  as  one 
whose  faith  proved  itself  by, good  works,  James  2.  25. 

1.  A  ND  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun  sent  out 
-/il  of  Shittim  two  men  to  spy  secretly, 
saying,  Go  view  the  land,  even  Jericho.  And 
they  went,  and  came  into  a  harlot’s  house, 
named  Rahab,  and  lodged  there.  2.  And 
it  was  told  the  king  of  Jericho,  saying,  Be¬ 
hold,  there  came  men  in  hither  to-night  of 
the  children  of  Israel,  to  search  out  the 
country.  3.  And  the  king  of  Jericho  sent 
unto  Rahab,  saying,  Bring  forth  the  men 
that  are  come  to  thee,  which  are  entered 


15 


JOSHUA,  II. 


imo  thine  house  :  for  they  be  come  to  search 
out  all  the  country.  4.  And  the  woman 
took  the  two  men,  and  hid  them,  and  said 
tlius,  There  came  men  unto  me,  but  I  wist 
not  whence  they  were  :  5.  And  it  came  to 

pass,  about  the  time,  of  shutting  of  the  gate, 
when  it  was  dark,  that  the  men  went  out : 
whither  the  men  went  I  wot  not:  pursue 
after  them  quickly ;  for  ye  shall  overtake 
them.  6.  But  she  had  brought  them  up  to 
the  roof  of  the  house,  and  hid  them  with  the 
stalks  of  flax,  which  she  had  laid  in  order 
upon  the  roof.  7.  And  the  men  pursued 
after  them  the  way  to  Jordan,  unto  the 
fords :  and  as  soon  as  they  which  pursued 
after  them  were  gone  out,  they  shut  the  gate. 

In  these  verses  we  have, 

I.  The  prudence  of  Joshua,  in  sending  spies  to 
observe  this  important  pass,  which  was  likely  to  be 
disputed  at  the  entrance  of  Israel  into  Canaan,  v. 
1,  Go  view  the  land ,  even  Jericho.  Moses  had  sent 
spies.  Numb.  13.  (Joshua  himself  was  one  of  them,) 
and  it  proved  of  ill  consequence:  yet  Joshua  now 
sends  spies,  not  as  the  former  were  sent  to  survey 
the  whole  land,  but  Jericho  only;  not  to  bringthe  ac¬ 
count  to  the  whole  congregation,  but  to  Joshua  only; 
who,  like  a  watchful  General,  was  continually  pro¬ 
jecting  for  the  public  good,  and  was  particularly 
careful  to  take  the  first  step  well,  and  not  to  stum¬ 
ble  at  the  threshold.  It  was  not  fit  that  Joshua 
should  venture  over  Jordan,  to  make  his  remarks 
incognito — in  disguise,  but  he  sends  two  men,  two 
young  men  (say  the  LXX. )  to  view  the  land, 
that  from  their  report  he  might  take  his  mea¬ 
sures  in  attacking  Jericho.  Observe,  1.  There 
is  no  remedy,  but  great  men  must  see  with  other 
people’s  eyes,  which  makes  it  very  necessary 
that  they  be  cautious  in  the  choice  of  those  they 
employ,  since  so  much  often  depends  on  their  fide¬ 
lity.  2.  Faith  in  God’s  promise  ought  not  to  super¬ 
sede  but  encourage  our  diligence  in  the  use  of  pro¬ 
per  means.  Joshua  is  sure  he  has  God  with  him, 
and  yet  sends  men  before  him.  We  do  not  trust 
God,  but  tempt  him,  if  our  expectations  slacken  our 
endeavours.  See  how  ready  these  men  were  to  go 
upon  this  hazardous  enterprise;  though  they  put 
their  lives  in  their  hands,  vet  they  ventured  in  obe¬ 
dience  to  Joshua  their  General,  in  zeal  for  the 
service  of  the  camp,  and  ifi  dependence  upon  the 
power  of  that  God,  who  being  the  keeper  of  Israel 
in  general,  is  the  Protector  of  every  particular  Is¬ 
raelite  in  the  way  of  his  duty. 

II.  The  providence  of  God,  directing  the  spies 

to  the  house  of  Rahab.  How  they  got  over  Jordan 
we  are  not  told,  but  into  Jericho  they  came,  which 
was  about  seven  or  eight  miles  from  the  river,  and 
there  seeking  for  a  convenient  inn,  were  directed  to 
the  house  of  Rahab,  here  called  a  harlot ;  a  woman 
that  had  formerly  been  of  ill  fame,  the  reproach  of 
which  stuck  to  her  name,  though  of  late  she  had 
repented  and  reformed.  Simon  the  leper,  (Matt. 
26.  6.)  though  cleansed  from  his  leprosy,  wore  the 
reproach  of  it  in  his  name  as  long  as  he  lived;  so  Ra¬ 
il  ub  the  harlot,  and  she  is  so  called  in  the  New 
Testament,  where  both  her  faith  and  her  good 
works  are  praised-,  to  teach  us,  1.  That  the  great¬ 
ness  of  sin  is  no  bar  to  pardoning  mercy,  if  it  be 
truly  repented  of  in  time.  We  read  of  publicans 
and  harlots  entering  into  the  kingdom  of  the  Mes¬ 
siah,  and  being  welcomed  to  all  the  privileges  of 
that  kingdom.  Matt.  21.  31.  2.  That  there  are 

many,  who  before  their  conversion  were  very  wick¬ 


ed  and  vile,  and  yet  afterward  come  to  great  emi¬ 
nence  in  faith  and  holiness.  Even  those  that  through 
grace  have  repented  of  the  sins  of  their  youth,  must 
expect  to  bear  the  reproach  of  them,  and  when  they 
hear  of  their  old  faults,  must  renew  their  repentance; 
and  as  an  evidence  of  that,  hear  of  them  patiently. 

God’s  Israel,  for  aught  that  appears,  had  but  one 
friend,  but  one  well-wisher  in  all  Jericho,  and  that 
was  Rahab,  a  harlot.  God  has  often  served  his 
own  purposes  and  his  church’s  interests  by  men  rf 
indifferent  morals.  Had  these  scouts  gone  to  any 
other  house  than  this,  they  had  certainly  been  be¬ 
trayed  and  put  to  death  without  mercy.  But  God 
knew  where  they  had  a  friend  that  would  be  true 
to  them,  though  they  did  not,  and  directed,  them 
thither.  Thus  that  which  seems  to  us  most  con¬ 
tingent  and  accidental,  is  often  over-ruled  by  the 
Divine  Providence  to  serve  its  great  ends.  And  those 
that  faithfully  acknowledge  God  in  their  ways,  he 
will  guide  them  with  hits  eye.  See  Jer.  36.  19,  26. 

III.  The  piety  cf  Rahab  in  receiving  and  pro¬ 
tecting  these  Israelites.  Those  that  keep  public- 
houses,  entertain  all  comers,  and  think  themselves 
obliged  to  be  civil  to  their  guests.  But'  Rahab 
showed  her  guests  more  than  common  civility,  and 
went  upon  an  uncommon  principle  in  what  she  did; 
it  was  by  faith  that  she  received  those  with  peace, 
against  whom  her  king  and  country  had  denounced 
war,  Heb.  11.  31.  1.  She  bid  them  welcome  to 

her  house,  they  lodged  there,  though  it  appeal’s  by 
what  she  said  to  them,  v.  9.  she  knew  both  whence 
they  came,  and  what  their  business  was.  2.  Per¬ 
ceiving  that  they  were  observed  coming  into  the 
city,  and  that  umbrage  was  taken  at  it,  she  hid 
them  upon  the  roof  of  the  house,  which  was  flat, 
and  covered  them  with  stalks  of  flax,  (v.  6.)  so  that 
if  the  officers  should  come  hither  to  search  for 
them,  there  they  might  lie  undiscovered.  By  these 
stalks  of  fi.ix,  which  she  herself  had  laid  in  order 
upon  the  roof  to  dry  in  the  sun,  in  order  to  the 
beating  of  it,  and  making  it  ready  for  the  wheel,  it 
appears  she  had  one  of  the  good  characters  of  the 
virtuous  woman,  however  in'  others  of  them  she 
might  be  deficient,  that  she  sought  wool  and  flax, 
and  wrought  willingly  with  her  hands,  Prov.  31. 
13.  From  which  instance  of  her  honest  industry, 
one  would  hope,  that  whatever  she  had  been  for¬ 
merly,  she  was  not  now  a  harlot.  3.  When  she 
was  examined  concerning  them,  she  denied  they 
were  in  her  house,  turned  off  the  officers  that  had 
a  warrant  to  search  for  them  with  a  sham,  and  so 
secured  them.  No  marvel  that  the  king  of  Jericho 
sent  to  inquire  after  them,  v.  2,  3.  he  had  cause  to 
fear  when  the  enemy  was  at  his  door,  and  his  fear 
made  him  suspicious  and  jealous  of  all  strangers; 
he  had  reason  to  demand  from  Rahab  that  she 
should  bring  forth  the  men  to  be  dealt  with  as  spies: 
but  Rahab  not  only  disowned  that  she  knew  them, 
or  where  they  were,  but,  that  no  further  search 
might  be  made  for  them  in  the  city,  told  the  pur¬ 
suers  they  were  gone  away  again,  and  in  all  proba¬ 
bility  might  be  overtaken,  v.  4,  5. 

Now,  (1.)  We  are  sure  this  was  a  good  work  :  it 
is  canonized  by  the  apostle,  James  2.  25,  where  she 
is  said  to  be  justified  by  works,  and  this  is  instanced 
in  that  she  received  the  messengers,  and  sent  them 
out  another  way,  and  she  did  it  by  faith,  such  a 
faith  as  set  her  above  the  fear  of  man,  even  of 
the  wrath  of  the  king.  She  believed,  upon  the 
report  she  had  heard  of  the  wonders  wrought  for 
Israel,  that  their  God  was  the  only  true  God,  and 
that  therefore  their  declared  design  upon  Canaan 
would  undoubtedly  take  effect,  and  in  this  faith  she 
sided  with  them,  protected  them,  and  courted  their 
favour.  Had  she  said,  “I  believe  God  is  your’s 
and  Canaan  your’s,  but  I  dare  not  show  you  any 
kindness,”  her  faith  had  been  dead  and  inactive. 


16 


JOSHUA,  11 


and  would  not  have  justified  her.  But  by  this  it  ap¬ 
peared  to  be  both  alive  and  lively,  that  she  exposed 
herself  to  the  utmost  peril,  even  of  life,  in  obedience 
to  her  faith.  Note,  Those  only  are  true  believers, 
that  can  find  in  their  hearts  to  venture  for  God; 
and  those  that  by  faith  take  the  Lord  for  their 
God,  take  his  people  for  their  people,  and  cast  in 
their  lot  among  them.  They  that  have  God  for 
their  refuge  and  hiding-place,  must  testify  their 
gratitude  by  their  readiness  to  shelter  his  people 
when  there  is  occasion:  let  mine  outcasts  dwell  with 
thee,  Isa.  16.  3,  4.  And  we  must  be  glad  of  an  op¬ 
portunity  of  testifying  the  sincerity  and  zeal  of  our 
ove  to  God,  by  hazardous  services  to  his  church 
and  kingdom  among  men. 

But,  (2. )  There  is  that  in  it  which  it  is  not  easy 
to  justify,  and  yet  it  must  be  justified,  or  else  it 
cotdd  not  be  so  good  a  work  as  to  justify  her.  [1.] 
It  is  plain  that  she  betrayed  her  country  by  har¬ 
bouring  the  enemies  of  it,  and  aiding  those  that 
were  designing  its  destruction,  which  could  not  con¬ 
sist  with  her  allegiance  to  her  prince,  and  her  af¬ 
fection  and  duty  to  the  community  she  was  a  mem¬ 
ber  of.  But  that  which  justifies  her  in  this,  is,  that 
she  knew  that  the  Lord  had  given  them  this  land, 
v.  9.  knew  it  by  the  incontestable  miracles  God 
had  wrought  for  them,  which  confirmed  that  grant; 
and  her  obligations  to  God  were  higher  than  her 
obligations  to  any  other.  If  she  knew  God  had 
given  them  this  land,  it  would  have  been  a  sin  to 
join  with  those  that  hindered  them  from  possessing 
it.  But  since  no  such  grant  of  any  land  to  any  people 
can  now  be  proved,  this  will  by  no  means  justify 
any  such  treacherous  practices  against  the  public 
welfare.  [2.]  It  is  plain  that  she  deceived  the  of¬ 
ficers  that  examined  her,  with  an  untruth,  That 
she  knew  not  whence  the  men  were,  that  they 
were  gone  out,  that  she  knew  not  whither  they 
were  gone.  What  shall  we  say  to  this?  If  she  had 
either  told  the  truth,  or  been  silent,  she  had  be¬ 
trayed  the  spies,  and  that  had  certainly  been  a 
great  sin:  and  it  does  not  appear  that  she  had 
another  way  of  concealing  them,  than  by  this  iron¬ 
ical  direction  to  the  officers  to  pursue  them  another 
way,  which  if  they  would  suffer  themselves  to  be 
deceived  by,  let  them  be  deceived.  None  are 
bound  to  accuse  themselves,  or  their  friends,  of 
that  which,  though  inquired  after  as  a  crime,  they 
know  to  be  a  virtue.  This  case  was  altogether  ex¬ 
traordinary,  and  therefore  cannot  be  drawn  into  a 
precedent:  and  that  may  be  justified  here,  which 
would  be  by  no  means  lawful  in  a  common  case. 
Rahab  knew  by  what  was  already  done  on  the 
other  side  Jordan,  that  no  mercy  was  to  be  showed 
to  the  Canaanites,  and  from  thence  inferred,  if 
mercy  were  not  owing  them,  truth  was  not;  they 
that  might  be  destroyed,  might  be  deceived.  Yet 
divines  generally  conceive  that  it  was  a  sin,  which 
however  admitted  of  this  extenuation,  that  being  a 
Canaanite  she  was  not  better  taught  the  evil  of  ly¬ 
ing;  but  God  accepted  her  faith  and  pardoned  her 
infirmity:  however  it  was  in  this  case,  we  are  sure 
it  is  our  duty  to  speak  every  man  the  truth  to  his 
neighbour,  to  dread  and  detest  lying,  and  never  to 
do  evil,  that  evil,  that  good  may  come  of  it,  Rom. 
3.  8.  But  God  accepts  what  is  sincerely  and  ho¬ 
nestly  intended,  though  there  be  a  mixture  of  frail¬ 
ty  and  folly  in  it,  and  is  not  extreme  to  mark  what 
we  do  amiss.  Some  suggest  that  what  she  said 
might  possibly  be  true  of  some  other  men.* 

*  However  the  guilt  of  Rahab’s  falsehood  may  he  extenuated,  it 
seems  best  to  admit  nothing  which  tends  to  explain  it  away.  VVe 
are  sure  that  God  discriminated  between  what  was  good  in  iter  con¬ 
duct,  and  what  was  had,  rewarding  the  former,  and  pardoning  the 
latter.  Her  views  of  the  divine  law  must  have  been  exceedingly 
dim  and  contracted;  a  similar  falsehood,  told  by  those  who  enjoy 
the  light  of  revelation,  however  laudable  the  motive,  would  of 
course  deserve  much  heavier  censure. 


8.  And  before  they  were  laid  down,  she 
came  up  unto  them  upon  the  roof;  9.  And 
she  said  unto  the  men,  I  know  that  the 
Lord  hath  given  you  the  land,  and  that 
your  terror  is  fallen  upon  us,  and  that  all  the 
inhabitants  of  the  land  faint  because  of  you. 
10.  For  we  have  heard  how  the  Lord 
dried  up  the  water  of  the  Red  Sea  for  you, 
when  ye  came  out  of  Egypt ;  and  what  ye 
did  unto  the  two  kings  of  the  Amorites  that 
were  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  Sihon  and 
Og,  whom  ye  utterly  destroyed.  11.  And 
as  soon  as  we  had  heard  these  things ,  our 
hearts  did  melt,  neither  did  there  remain 
any  more  courage  in  any  man,  because  of 
you  :  for  the  Lord  your  God,  he  is  God  in 
heaven  above,  and  in  earth  beneath.  12. 
Now  therefore,  I  pray  you,  swear  unto  me 
by  the  Lord,  since  1  have  showed  you 
kindness,  that  ye  will  also  show  kindness 
unto  my  father’s  house,  and  give  me  a  true 
token :  13.  And  that  ye  will  save  alive  my 

father,  and  my  mother,  and  my  brethren, 
and  my  sisters,  and  all  that  they  have,  and 
deliver  our  lives  from  death.  14.  And  the 
men  answered  her,  Our  life  for  yours,  if  ye 
utter  not  this  our  business.  And  it  shall 
be,  when  the  Lord  hath  given  us  the  land, 
that  we  will  deal  kindly  and  truly  with 
thee.  15.  Then  she  let  them  down  by  a 
cord  through  the  window :  for  her  house 
was  upon  the  town  wall,  and  she  dwelt  up¬ 
on  the  wall.  1 6.  And  she  said  unto  them, 
Get  you  to  the  mountain,  lest  the  pursuers 
meet  you  ;  and  hide  yourselves  there  three 
days,  until  the  pursuers  be  returned :  and 
afterward  may  ye  go  your  way.  17.  And 
the  men  said  unto  her,  We  will  he  blame¬ 
less  of  this  thine  oath  which  thou  hast 
made  us  swear.  18.  Behold,  when  we 
come  into  the  land,  thou  shalt  bind  this  line 
of  scarlet  thread  in  the  window  which  thou 
didst  let  us  down  by ;  and  thou  shalt  bring 
thy  father,  and  thy  mother,  and  thy  bre¬ 
thren,  and  all  thy  father’s  household,  home 
unto  thee.  19.  And  it  shall  be,  that  who¬ 
soever  shall  go  out  of  the  doors  of  thy  house 
into  the  street,  his  blood  shall  he  upon  his 
head,  and  we  will  he  guiltless :  and  whoso¬ 
ever  shall  be  with  thee  in  the  house,  his 
blood  shall  he  on  our  head,  if  any  hand  be 
upon  him.  20.  And  if  thou  utter  this  oui 
business,  then  we  will,  be  quit  of  thine  oath 
which  thou  hast  made  us  to  swear.  21. 
And  she  said,  According  unto  your  words 
so  he  it.  And  she  sent  them  away,  and 
they  departed :  and  she  bound  the  scarlet 
line  in  the  window. 

The  matter  is  here  settled  between  Rahab  and 
the  spies,  respecting  the  service  she  was  now  to  do 


17 


JOSHUA,  II. 


for  them,  and  the  favour  they  were  afterward  to 
show  to  her.  She  secures  them  on  condition  that 
they  should  secure  her. 

I.  She  gives  them,  and  by  them  sends  to  Joshua 
and  Israel,  all  the  encouragement  that  could  be  de¬ 
sired  to  make  their  intended  descent  upon  Canaan. 
This  was  what  they  came  for,  and  it  was  worth 
coming  for.  Being  got  clear  of  the  officers,  she 
comes  up  to  them  to  the  roof  of  the  house  where 
they  lay  hid,  finds  them  perhaps  somewhat  dis¬ 
mayed  at  the  peril  they  apprehended  themselves 
in  from  the  officers,  and  scarcely  recovered  from 
the  fright,  but  has  that  to  say  to  them  which  will 
give  them  abundant  satisfaction.  1.  She  lets  them 
know  that  the  report  of  the  great  things  God  had 
done  for  them,  was  come  to  Jericho,  v.  10.  not  only 
that  they  had  an  account  of  their  late  victories  ob¬ 
tained  over  the  Amorites,  in  the  neighbouring 
country,  on  the  other  side  the  river,  but  that  their 
miraculous  deliverance  out  of  Egypt,  and  passage 
through  the  Red-sea,  a  great  way  off,  and  forty 
years  ago,  were  remembered  and  talked  of  afresh 
in  Jericho  to  the  amazement  of  every  body.  Thus 
this  Joshua  and  his  fellows  were  men  wondered  at, 
Zech.  3.  8.  See  how  God  makes  his  wonderful 
works  to  be  remembered,  Ps.  111.  4.  so  that  men 
shall  speak  of  the  might  of  his  terrible  acts,  Ps.  145. 
6.  2.  She  tells  them  what  impressions  the  tidings 

of  these  things  had  made  upon  the  Canaanites, 
your  terror  has  fallen  upon  us,  v.  9.  our  hearts  did 
melt,  v.  11.  If  she  kept  a  public  house,  that  would 
give  her  an  opportunity  of  understanding  the  sense 
of  various  companies,  and  of  travellers  from  other 
parts  of  the  country;  so  that  they  could  not  know 
this  any  way  better  than  by  her  information;  and  it 
would  be  of  great  use  to  Joshua  and  Israel  to  know 
it,  it  would  put  courage  into  the  most  cowardly  Is¬ 
raelite  to  hear  how  their  enemies  were  dispirited; 
and  it  was  easy  to  conclude,  that  they  who  now 
fainted  before  them,  would  infallibly  fall  before 
them:  especially  because  it  was  the  accomplish¬ 
ment  of  a  promise  God  had  made  them,  that  he 
would  lay  the  fear  and  dread  of  them  upon  all  this 
land,  Deut.  11.  25.  and  so  it  would  be  an  earnest  of 
the  accomplishment  of  all  the  other  promises  God 
had  made  them.  Let  not  the  stout  man  glory  in 
his  courage,  any  more  than  the  strong  man  in  his 
strength,  for  God  can  weaken  both  mind  and  body. 
Let  not  God’s  Israel  be  afraid  of  their  most  power¬ 
ful  enemies,  for  their  God  can,  when  he  pleases, 
make  their  most  powerful  enemies  afraid  of  them. 
Let  none  think  to  harden  their  hearts  against  God 
and  prosper,  for  he  that  made  man’s  soul,  can  at 
any  time  make  the  sword  of  his  terrors  approach 
to  it.  She  hereupon  makes  the  profession  of  her 
faith  in  God  and  his  promise;  and  perhaps  there 
was  not  found  so  great  faith  (all  things  considered,) 
no,  not  in  Israel,  as  in  this  woman  of  Canaan.  *(1-) 
She  believes  God’s  power  and  dominion  over  all  the 
world,  v.  11.  “Jehovah  your  God  whom  you  wor¬ 
ship  and  call  upon,  is  so  far  above  all  gods,  that  he 
is  the  only  true  God;  for  he  is  God  in  heaven  above 
and  in  earth  beneath,  and  is  served  by  all  the  hosts 
of  both.”  A  vast  distance  there  is  between  heaven 
and  earth,  yet  both  are  equally  under  the  inspec¬ 
tion  and  government  of  the  great  Jehovah.  Heaven 
is  not  above  his  power,  nor  earth  below  his  cogni¬ 
zance.  (2.)  She  believes  his  pi’omise  to  his  peo¬ 
ple  Israel,  v.  9,  I  know  that  the  Lord  hath  given 
you  the  land.  The  king  of  Jericho  had  heard  as 
much  as  she  had  of  the  great  things  God  had  done 
for  Israel,  yet  he  cannot  infer  from  thence  that  the 
Lord  had  given  them  this  land,  but  resolves  to  hold 
it  out  against  them  to  the  last  extremity:  for  the 
most  powerful  means  of  conviction  will  not  of  them¬ 
selves  attain  the  end  without  divine  grace,  and  by 
that  grace,  Rahab  the  harlot,  who  had  only  heard 

VOL.  II.— C 


of  the  wonders  God  had  wrought,  speaks  with  more 
assurance  of  the  truth  of  the  promise  made  to  the 
fathers,  than  all  the  elders  of  Israel  had  done  who 
were  eye-witnesses  of  those  wonders,  many  of 
whom  perished  through  unbelief  of  this  promise. 
Blessed  are  they  that  have  not  seen,  and  yet  have 
believed;  so  Rahab  did;  O  woman,  great  is  thy 
faith! 

II.  She  engaged  them  to  take  her  and  her  rela¬ 
tions  under  their  protection,  that  they  might  not 
perish  in  the  destruction  of  Jericho,  v.  12,  13.  Now, 

I.  It  was  an  evidence  of  the  sincerity  and  strength 
of  her  faith  concerning  the  approaching  revolution 
in  her  country,  that  she  was  so  solicitous  to  make 
an  interest  for  herself  with  the  Israelites,  and  court¬ 
ed  their  kindness.  She  foresaw  the  conquest  of  her 
country,  and  in  the  belief  of  that  bespoke  in  time 
the  favour  of  the  conquerors.  Thus  Noah,  being 
moved  with  fear,  prepared  an  ark  to  the  saving  of 
his  house,  and  the  condemnmg  of  the  world,  Heb. 

I I.  7.  They  who  truly  believe  the  divine  revela¬ 
tion,  concerning  the  ruin  of  sinners,  and  the  grant 
of  the  heavenly  land  to  God’s  Israel,  will  give  dili¬ 
gence  to  flee  from  the  wrath  to  come,  and  to  lay 
hold  on  eternal  life,  by  joining  themselves  to  God 
and  to  his  people.  2.  The  provision  she  made  for 
the  safety  of  her  relations,  as  well  as  for  her  own, 
is  a  laudable  instance  of  natural  affection,  and  an 
intimation  to  us  in  like  manner  to  do  all  we  can  for 
the  salvation  of  the  souls  of  those  that  are  dear  to 
us,  and,  with  ourselves,  to  bring  them,  if  possible, 
into  the  bond  of  the  covenant.  No  mention  is  made 
of  her  husband  and  children,  but  only  her  parents 
and  brothers  and  sisters,  whom,  though  she  was 
herself  a  housekeeper,  she  retained  a  due  concern 
for.  3.  Her  request  that  they  would  swear  unto 
her  by  Jehovah,  is  an  instance  of  her  acquaintance 
with  the  only  true  God,  and  her  faith  in  him,  and 
devotion  toward  him,  one  act  of  which  is  religiously 
to  swear  by  his  name.  4.  Her  petition  is  very  just 
and  reasonable,  that  since  she  had  protected  them, 
they  should  protect  her;  and  since  her  kindness  to 
them  extended  to  their  people,  for  whom  they 
were  now  negotiating,  their  kindness  to  her  should 
take  in  all  her’s.  It  was  the  least  they  could  do  for 
one  that  had  saved  their  lives  with  the  hazard  of 
her  own.  Note,  Those  that  show  mercy  may  ex¬ 
pect  to  find  mercy.  Observe,  She  does  not  de¬ 
mand  any  preferment  by  way  of  reward  for  her 
kindness  to  them,  though  they  lay  so  much  at  her 
mercy  that  she  might  have  made  her  own  terms, 
but  only  indents  for  her  life,  which,  in  a  general  de¬ 
struction  would  be  a  singular  favour.  Thus  God 
promised  Ebed-Melech  in  recompense  for  his 
kindness  to  Jeremiah,  that  in  the  worst  of  times  he 
should  have  his  life  for  a  prey,  Jer.  39.  18.  Yet 
this  Rahab  was  afterward  advanced  to  be  a  prin¬ 
cess  in  Israel,  the  wife  of  Salmon,  and  one  of  the  an¬ 
cestors  of  Christ,  Matt.  1.  5.  Those  that  faithfully 
serve  Christ,  and  suffer  for  him,  he  will  not  only 
protect,  but  prefer,  and  will  do  for  them  more  than 
they  are  able  to  ask  or  think. 

III.  They  solemnly  engaged  for  her  preservation 
in  the  common  destruction,  v.  14,  “  Our  life  for 
yours.  We  will  take  as  much  care  of  your  lives 
as  of  our  own,  and  would  as  soon  hurt  ourselves  as 
any  of  you.”  Nay,  they  imprecate  God’s  judg¬ 
ments  on  themselves,  if  they  should  violate  their 
promise  to  her.  She  had  pawned  her  life  for  their’s, 
and  now  they  in  requital  pawn  their  lives  for  her’s, 
and  (as  public  persons)  with  them  they  pawn  the 
public  faith  and  the  credit  of  their  nation,  for  they 
plainly  interest  all  Israel  in  the  engagement  of  those 
words.  When  the  Lord  has  gwen  us  the  land, 
meaning  not  themselves  only,  but  the  people  whose 
agents  they  were.  No  doubt,  they  knew  them¬ 
selves  sufficiently  authorised  to  treat  with  Rahab 


JOSHUA,  JJ. 


it; 

concerning  this  matter,  and  were  confident  that 
Joshua  would  ratify  what  they  did,  else  they  had  not 
dealt  honestly;  the  general  law,  that  they  should 
m  ike  no  covenant  with  the  Canaanites,  (I)eut.  7. 
2.)  did  not  forbid  them  to  take  under  their  protec¬ 
tion  a  particular  person,  that  was  heartily  come  into 
their  interests,  and  had  done  them  real  kindnesses. 
The  law  of  gratitude  is  one  of  the  laws  of  nature. 
Now  observe  here, 

1.  The  promises  they  made  her.  In  general, 
“  We  will  deal  kindly  and  truly  with  thee,  v.  14. 
We  will  not  only  be  kind  in  promising  now,  but 
true  in  performing  what  we  promise,  and  not  only 
true  in  performing  just  what  we  promise,  but  kind 
in  out-doing  thy  demands  and  expectations.”  The 
goodness  of  God  is  often  expressed  by  his  kindness 
and  truth,  (Ps.  117.  2.)  and  in  both  these  we  must 
be  followers  of  him.  In  particular,  “If  a  hand 
be  upon  any  in  the  house  with  thee,  his  blood  shall 
be  on  our  head,  v.  19.  If  hurt  come  through  our 
carelessness  to  those  whom  we  are  obliged  to  pro¬ 
tect,  we  thereby  contract  guilt,  and  blood  will  be 
found  a  heavy  load.  ” 

2.  The  provisos  and  limitations  of  their  promises. 
Though  they  were  in  haste,  and  it  may  be  in  some 
confusion,  yet  we  find  them  very  cautious  in  settling 
this  agreement  and  the  terms  of  it,  not  to  bind 
themselves  to  more  than  was  fit  for  them  to  per¬ 
form.  Note,  Covenants  must  be  made  with  care, 
and  we  must  swear  in  judgment,  lest  we  find  our¬ 
selves  perplexed  and  entangled  when  it  is  too  late 
after  vows  to  make  inquiry.  They  that  will  be 
conscientious  in  keeping  their  promises,  will  be 
cautious  in  making  them,  and  perhaps  may  insert 
conditions  which  others  may  think  frivolous. 

Their  promise  is  here  accompanied  with  three 
prov  isos,  and  they  were  necessary  ones.  They  will 
protect  Rahab,  and  all  her  relations  always,  pro¬ 
vided,  (1.)  That  she  tie  the  scarlet  cord  with  which 
she  was  now  about  to  let  them  down,  in  the  window 
of  her  house,  v.  18.  This  was  to  be  a  mark  upon 
the  house,  which  the  spies  would  take  care  to  give 
notice  of  to  the  camp  of  Israel,  that  no  soldier,  how 
hot  and  eager  soever  he  was  in  military  executions, 
might  offer  any  violence  to  the  house  that  was  thus 
distinguished.  This  was  like  the  blood  sprinkled 
upon  the  door-post  which  secured  the  first-born 
from  the  destroying  angel,  and  being  of  the  same 
colour,  some  allude  to  this  also,  to  represent  the 
safety  of  believers,  under  the  protection  of  the 
blood  of  Christ  sprinkled  on  the  conscience.  The 
•same  cord  that  she  made  use  of  for  the  preserva¬ 
tion  of  these  Israelites,  was  to  be  made  use  of  for 
her  preservation.  What  we  serve  and  honour  God 
-with,  we  may  expect  he  will  bless  and  make  com¬ 
fortable  to  us.  (2. )  That  she  should  have  all  those 
•whose  safety  she  had  desired  in  the  house  with  her, 
:aml  keep  them  there;  and  that  at  the  time  of  taking 
fhe  town,  none  of  them  should  dare  to  stir  out  of 
doors,  v.  18,  19.  This  was  a  necessary  proviso, 
for  Rahab’s  kindred  could  not  be  distinguished  any 
other  way  than  by  being  in  her  distinguished  house; 
should  they  mingle  themselves  with  their  neigh¬ 
bours,  there  was  no  remedy,  but  the  sword  would 
•devour  on.e  as  well  as  another.  It  was  a  reasonable 
•proviso,  that  since  they  were  saved  purely  for  Ra¬ 
hab’s  s  .ke,  her  house  should  have  the  honour  of 
being  their  castle;  and  that  if  they  would  not  perish 
with  them  that  believed  not ,  they  should  thus  far 
believe  the  certainty  and  severity  of  the  ruin  com¬ 
ing  upon  their  city,  as  to  retire  into  a  place  made 
safe  by  promise ,  as  Noah  in  the  ark,  and  Lot  into 
Z,oar,  and  should  save  themselves  from  this  unto¬ 
ward  generation ,  by  separating  from  them.  It  was 
likewise  a  significant  proviso,  intimating  to  us  that 
those  who  are  added  to  the  church  that  they  may 
be  Bared,  must  keep  close  to  the  society  of  the  faith¬ 


ful,  and  having  escaped  the  corruption  that  is  in  the 
world  through  lust,  must  take  heed  of  being  again 
entangled  therein.  (3. )  That  she  should  keep  coun¬ 
sel,  v.  14,  20.  If  thou  utter  this  our  business,  that 
is,  “  If  thou  betray  us  when  we  are  gone,  or  if  thou 
make  this  agreement  public,  so  as  that  others  tie 
scarlet  lines  in  their  windows,  and  so  confound  us, 
then  we  will  be  quit  of  thine  oath.”  They  are  un¬ 
worthy  of  the  secret  of  the  Lord,  that  know  not  how 
to  keep  it  to  themselves  when  there  is  occasion. 

IV.  She  then  took  effectual  care  t@  secure  her 
new  friends,  and  sent  them  out  another  way,  James 
2.  25.  Having  fully  understood  the  bargain  they 
made  with  her,  and  consented  to  it,  v.  21.  she  then 
let  them  down  by  a  cord  over  the  city  wall,  v.  15. 
the  situation  of  her  house  befriending  them  herein: 
Thus  Paul  made  his  escape  out  of  Damascus,  2 
Cor.  11.  33.  She  also  directed  them  which  way  to 
go  for  their  own  safety,  being  better  acquainted 
with  the  country  than  they  were,  v.  16.  She  di¬ 
rects  them  to  leave  the  high  read,  and  abscond  in 
the  mountains  till  the  pursuers  were  returned,  for 
till  then  they  could  not  safely  venture  over  Jordan. 
Those  that  are  in  the  way  of  God  and  their  duty, 
may  expect  that  Providence  will  protect  them,  but 
that  will  not  excuse  them  from  taking  all  prudent 
methods  for  their  own  safety.  God  will  keep  us, 
but  then  we  must  not  wilfully  expose  ourselves. 
Providence  must  be  trusted,  but  not  tempted.  Cal¬ 
vin  thinks  that  their  charge  to  Rahab  to  keep  this 
matter  secret,  and  not  to  utter  it,  was  intended  for 
her  safety,  lest  she,  boasting  of  her  security  from 
the  sword  of  Israel,  should,  before  they  came  to 
protect  her,  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  king  of  Jeri¬ 
cho,  and  be  put  to  death  for  treason :  thus  do  they 
prudently  advise  her  for  her  safety,  as  she  advised 
them  for  their’s.  And  it  is  good  advice,  which  we 
should  at  any  time  be  thankful  for,  to  take  heed  to 
ourselves. 

22.  And  they  went,  and  came  unto  the 
mountain,  and  abode  there  three  days,  until 
the  pursue] s  were  returned  :  And  the  pur¬ 
suers  sought  them  throughout  all  the  way, 
but  found  them  not.  23.  So  the  two  men  re¬ 
turned,  and  descended  from  the  mountain, 
and  passed  over,  and  came  to  Joshua  the 
son  of  Nun,  and  told  him  all  things  that 
befell  them :  24.  And  they  said  unto 

Joshua,  Truly  the  Lord  hath  delivered 
into  our  hands  all  the  land  ;  for  even  all  the 
inhabitants  of  the  countiy  do  faint  because 
of  us. 

We  have  here  the  safe  return  of  the  spies  Joshua 
had  sent,  and  the  great  encouragement  they  brought 
with  them  to  Israel  to  proceed  in  their  descent  upon 
Canaan.  Had  they  been  minded  to  discourage  the 
people,  as  the  evil  spies  did  that  Moses  sent,  they 
might  have  told  them  what  they  had  observed  of 
the  height  and  strength  of  the  walls  of  Jericho,  and 
the  extraordinary  vigilance  of  the  king  of  Jericho, 
and  how  narrowly  they  escaped  out  of  his  hands: 
but  they  were  of  another  spirit,  and  depending 
themselves  upon  the  divine  promise,  they  animated 
Joshua  likewise. 

1.  Their  return  in  safety  was  itself  an  encourage¬ 
ment  to  Joshua,  and  a  token  for  good.  That  God 
provided  for  them  so  good  a  friend  as  Rahab  was,  in 
an  enemy’s  country,  and  that,  notwithstanding  the 
rage  of  the  king  of  Jericho,  and  the  eagerness  of 
the  pursuers,  they  were  come  back  in  peace,  with 
such  an  instance  of  God’s  great  care  concerning 
i  them  for  Israel’s  sake,  as  might  assure  the  people 


19 


JOSHUA,  III. 


of  the  divine  conduct  and  care  they  were  under, 
which  would  undoubtedly  make  the  progress  of 
their  arms  glorioufc.  He  that  so  wonderfully  pro¬ 
tected  their  scouts,  would  preserve  their  men  of 
war,  and  cover  their  heads  in  the  day  of  battle. 

2.  The  report  they  brought  was  much  more  en¬ 
couraging,  v.  24.  “All  the  inhabitants  of  the  coun¬ 
try,  though  resolved  to  stand  it  out,  yet  do  faint  \ 
because  of  us,  they  have  neither  wisdom  to  yield, 
nor  courage  to  fight;”  whence  they  conclude, 

“  Truly  the  Lord  has  delivered  into  our  hands  all 
the  land,  it  is  all  our  own,  we  have  nothing  to  do,  in 
effect,  but  to  take  possession.”  Sinners’  frights  are 
sometimes  sure  presages  of  their  fall.  If  we  resist 
our  spiritual  enemies,  they  will  flee  before  us, 
which  will  encourage  us  to  hope  that  in  due  time 
we  shall  be  more  than  conquerors. 

CHAP.  III. 

This  chapter,  and  that  which  follows  it,  gives  us  the  history 
of  Israel’s  passing  through  Jordan  into  Canaan,  and  a 
very  memorable  history  it  is.  Long  after,  they  are  bid 
to  remember,  what  God  did  for  them  between  Shittim 
(whence  they  decamped,  v.  1.)  and  Gilgal,  where  they 
next  pitched,  ch.  4.  19.  Mic.  6.  5,  That  they  might 
know  the  righteousness  of  the  Lord.  By  Joshua’s  order 
they  marched  up  to  the  river’s  side,  v.  1.  and  then  al¬ 
mighty  power  led  them  through  it.  They  passed  through 
the  Red-sea  unexpectedly,  and  in  their  flight  by  night, 
but  they  have  notice  some  time  before  of  their  passing 
through  Jordan,  and  their  expectations  raised.  I.  The 
people  are  directed  to  follow  the  ark,  v.  2  . .  4.  II.  They 
are  commanded  to  sanctify  themselves,  v.  5.  III.  The 
priests  with  the  ark  are  ordered  to  lead  the  van,  v.  6. 
IV.  Joshua  is  magnified  and  made  commander  in  chief, 
v.  7,  8.  V.  Public  notice  is  given  of  what  God  is  about 
to  do  for  them,  v.  9 .  .  13.  VI.  The  thing  is  done,  Jor¬ 
dan  is  divided,  and  Israel  brought  safely  through  it,  v. 
14 . .  1 7.  This  was  the  Lord’s  doing,  and  it  is  marvellous 
in  our  eyes. 

I.  4  ND  Joshua  rose  early  in  the  morn- 
JA- L  ing;  and  they  removed  from  Shit- 
t.im,  and  came  to  Jordan,  he  and  all  the 
children  of  Israel,  and  lodged  there  before 
they  passed  over.  2.  And  it  came  to  pass, 
after  three  days,  that  the  officers  went 
through  the  host ;  3.  And  they  commanded 
die  people,  saying,  When  ye  see  the  ark 
of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord  your  God, 
and  the  priests  the  Levites  bearing  it,  then 
ye  shall  remove  from  your  place,  and  go 
after  it.  4.  Yet  there  shall  be  a  space  be¬ 
tween  you  and  it,  about  two  thousand  cubits 
by  measure  :  come  not  near  unto  it,  that  ye 
may  know  the  way  by  which  ye  must  go : 
for  ye  have  not  passed  this  way  heretofore. 
5.  And  Joshua  said  unto  the  people,  Sanc¬ 
tify  yourselves:  for  to-morrow  the  Lord 
will  do  wonders  among  you.  6.  And 
Joshua  spake  unto  the  priests,  saying,  Take 
up  the  ark  of  the  covenant,  and  pass  over 
before  the  people.  And  they  took  up  the 
ark  of  the  covenant,  and  went  before  the 
people. 

Rahab,  in  mentioning  to  the  spies  the  drying  up 
of  the  Red  Sea,  ch.  2.  10.  the  report  of  which 
terrified  the  Canaanites  more  than  any  thing  else, 
intimates  that  they  on  that  side  the  water  expected 
that  Jordan,  that  great  defence  of  their  country, 
would  in  like  manner  give  way  to  them;  whether 
the  Israelites  had  any  expectation  of  it,  does  not 


appear.  God  often  did  things  for  them  which  they 
looked  not  for,  Isa.  64.  3.  Now  here  we  are  told, 

I.  That  they  came  to  Jordan  and  lodged  there, 
v.  1.  Though  they  were  not  yet  told  how  they 
should  pass  the  ri\  er,  and  were  unprovided  for  the 
passing  of  it  in  any'ordinary  way,  yet  they  went 
forward  in  faith,  having  been  told,  ch.  1.  11.  that 
they  should  pass  it.  We  must  go  on  in  the  way  cf 
our  duty,  though  we  foresee  difficulties,  trusting 
God  to  help  us  through  them,  when  we  come  to 
them.  Let  us  proceed  as  far  as  we  can,  and  de¬ 
pend  on  divine  sufficiency  for  that  which  we  find 
ourselves  not  sufficient  for.  In  this  march  Joshua 
led  them,  and  particular  notice  is  taken  of  his  early 
rising;  as  there  is  afterward  upon  other  occasions, 
ch.  6.  12. — 7.  16. — 8.  10.  which  intimates  how  lit¬ 
tle  he  loved  his  ease,  how  much  he  loved  his  busi¬ 
ness,  and  what  care  and  pains  he  was  willing  to 
take  in  it.  Those  that  would  bring  great  things 
to  pass,  must  rise  early.  Love  not  sleefi,  lest  thou 
come  to  poverty.  Jcshua  herein  set  a  good  example 
to  the  officers  under  him,  and  taught  them  to  rise 
early,  and  to  all  that  are  in  public  stations  especially 
to  attend  continually  to  the  duty  cf  their  place. 

II.  That  the  people  were  directed  to  follow  the 
ark;  officers  were  appointed  to  go  through  the  host 
to  give  these  directions,  v.  2.  that  every  Israelite 
might  know  both  what  to  do,  and  what  to  depend 
upon. 

1.  They  might  depend  upon  the  ark  to  lead 
them;  that  is,  upon  God  himself,  of  whose  presence 
the  ark  was  an  instituted  sign  and  token.  It  seems, 
the  pillar  of  cloud  and  fire  was  removed,  else  that 
had  led  them,  unless  we  suppose  that  that  now  ho¬ 
vered  over  the  ark,  and  so  they  had  a  double  guide, 
honour  was  put  upon  the  ark,  and  a  defence  upon 
that  glory.  It  is  called  here  the  ark  of  the  covenant 
of  the  Lord  their  God.  What  greater  encourage¬ 
ment  could  they  have  than  this,  That  the  Lord  was 
their  God,  a  God  in  covenant  with  them?  Here 
was  the  ark  of  the  covenant;  if  God  be  cur’s,  we 
need  not  to  fear  any  evil.  He  was  nigh  to  them, 
present  with  them,  went  before  them:  What  could 
come  amiss  to  them  that  were  thus  guided,  thus 
guarded?  Formerly,  the  ark  was  carried  in  the 
midst  of  the  camp,  but  now  it  went  before  them  to 
search  out  a  resting-place  for  them,  Numb.  10.  33. 
and,  as  it  were,  to  give  them  livery  and  seisin  of  the 
promised  land,  and  put  them  in  possession  cf  it.  In 
the  ark  the  tables  of  the  law  were,  and  over  it  the 
mercy-seat,  for  the  di'  ine  law  and  grace  reigning 
in  the  heart  are  the  surest  pledges  of  God’s  presence 
and  favour;  and  those  that  would  be  led  to  the 
heavenly  Canaan,  must  take  the  law  of  God  for 
their  guide,  ( if  thou  wilt  enter  into  life,  keep  the 
commandments ,)  and  have  the  great  Propitiation 
in  their  eye,  looking  for  the  mercy  of  our  Lora 
Jesus  Christ  unto  eternal  lift. 

2.  They  might  depend  upon  the  priests  and  Le¬ 
vites,  who  were  appointed  for  that  purp6se  to  carry 
the  ark  before  them.  The  work  of  ministers  is  to 
hold  forth  the  word  of  life,  and  to  take  care  of  the 
administration  of  those  ordinances  which  are  the 
tokens  of  God’s  presence,  and  the  instruments  of 
his  power  and  grace;  and  herein  they  must  go  be¬ 
fore  the  people  of  God  in  their  way  to  heaven. 

3.  The  people  must  follow  the  ark.  Remove 
from  your  place  and  go  after  it;  (1.)  As  those  that 
are  resolved  never  to  forsake  it;  wherever  God’s 
ordinances  are,  there  we  must  be;  if  they  flit,  we 
must  remove  and  go  after  them.  (2.)  As  those 
that  are  entirelv  satisfied  in  its  guidance,  that  it 
will  lead  in  the  best  way  to  the  best  end;  and  there¬ 
fore,  Lord,  I  will  follow  thee  whithersoever  thou 
goest.  This  must  be  all  their  care,  to  attend  the 
motions  of  the  ark,  and  follow  it  with  an  implicit 
faith.  Thus  must  we  walk  after  the  rule  of  the 


20 


JOSHUA,  III. 


word,  and  the  direction  of  the  Spirit  in  every  thing, 
so  shall  peace  be  upon  us,  as  it  now  was  upon  the 
Israel  of  God.  They  must  follow  the  priests  as  far 
as  they  carried  the  ark,  but  no  further;  so  we  must 
follow  our  ministers  only  as  they  follow  Christ. 

4.  In  following  the  ark,  they  must  keep  their  dis¬ 
tance,  v.  4.  They  must  none  of  them  come  within 
a  thousand  yards  of  the  ark.  (1.)  They  must  thus 
express  their  awful  and  reverent  regard  to  that 
token  of  God’s  presence,  lest  its  familiarity  with 
them  should  breed  contempt.  This  charge  to 
them,  not  to  come  near,  was  agreeable  to  that  dis¬ 
pensation  of  darkness,  bondage,  and  terror:  but  we 
now  through  Christ  have  access  with  boldness. 
(2.)  Thus  it  was  made  to  appear,  that  the  ark  was 
able  to  protect  itself,  and  needed  not  to  be  guarded 
by  the  men  of  war,  but  was  itself  a  guard  to  them. 
With  what  a  noble  defiance  of  the  enemy  did  it 
leave  all  its  friends  half  a  mile  behind,  but  the 
unarmed  priests  that  carried  it,  as  perfectly  suffi¬ 
cient  for  its  own  safety  and  their’s  that  followed  it. 
(3.)  Thus  it  was  the  better  seen  by  those  that 
were  to  be  led  by  it,  that  ye  may  know  the  way  by 
which  ye  must  go,  seeing  it,  as  it  were,  chalked  out 
or  tracked  by  the  ark.  Had  they  been  allowed  to 
come  near  it,  they  would  have  surrounded  it,  and 
none  would  have  had  the  sight  of  it  but  those  that 
were  close  to  it;  but  as  it  was  put  at  such  a  distance 
before  them,  they  would  all  have  the  satisfaction  of 
seeing  it,  and  would  be  animated  by  the  sight. 
And  it  was  with  good  reason  that  this  provision  was 
made  for  their  encouragement,  for  ye  have  not 
passed  this  way  heretofore.  This  had  been  the 
character  of  all  their  way  through  the  wilderness, 
it  was  an  untrodden  path,  but  this  especially 
through  Jordan.  While  we  are  here,  we  must  ex¬ 
pect  and  prepare  for  unusual  events,  to  pass  ways 
that  we  have  not  passed  before:  and  much  more 
when  we  go  hence;  our  way  through  the  valley  of 
the  shadow  of  death  is  a  way  we  have  not  gone  be¬ 
fore,  which  makes  it  the  more  formidable.  But  if 
we  have  the  assurance  of  God’s  presence  we  need 
not  fear,  that  will  furnish  us  with  such  strength  as 
we  never  had,  when  we  come  to  do  a  work  we 
never  did. 

III.  They  were  commanded  to  sanctify  them¬ 
selves,  that  they  might  be  prepared  to  attend  the 
ark;  and  for  this  there  was  good  reason,  for  to¬ 
morrow  the  Lord  will  do  wonders  among  you,  v.  5. 
See  how  magnificently  he  speaks  of  God’s  works, 
he  doeth  wonders,  and  is  therefore  to  be  adored, 
admired,  and  trusted  in.  See  how  intimately  ac¬ 
quainted  Joshua  was  with  the  divine  counsels,  he 
could  tell  beforehand  what  God  would  do,  and  when. 
See  what  preparation  we  must  make  to  receive  the 
discoveries  of  God’s  glory  and  the  communications 
of  his  grace,  we  must  sanctify  ourselves.  This  we 
must  do  when  we  are  to  attend  the  ark,  and  God  by 
it  is  about  to  do  wonders  among  us;  we  must  sepa¬ 
rate  ourselves  from  all  other  cares,  devote  ourselves 
to  God’s  honour,  and  cleanse  ourselves  from  all  fil¬ 
thiness  of  flesh  and  spirit.  The  people  of  Israel 
were  now  entering  into  the  holy  land,  and  therefore 
must  sanctify  themselves.  God  was  about  to  give 
them  uncommon  instances  of  his  favour,  which  by 
meditation  and  prayer  they  must  compose  their 
minds  to  a  very  careful  observation  of,  that  they 
might  give  God  the  glory,  and  take  to  themselves 
the  comfort,  of  these  appearances. 

IV.  The  priests  were  ordered  to  take  up  the  ark 
and  carry  it  before  the  people,  v.  6.  It  was  the 
Levites’  work  ordinarily  to  carry  the  ark,  Numb. 
4.  15.  But  on  this  great  occasion  the  priests  were 
ordered  to  do  it.  And  they  did  as  they  were  com¬ 
manded,  took  up  the  ark,  and  did  not  think  them¬ 
selves  disparaged,  went  before  the  people, and  did  not 
think  themselves  exposed;  the  ark  they  carried  was 


both  their  honourand  defence.  Andnowwemay  sup¬ 
pose  that  prayer  of  Moses  used,  when  the  ark  set  for¬ 
ward,  Numb.  10.  35,  Rise  up.  Lord,  and  let  thine 
enemies  be  scattered.  Magistrates  are  here  instruct¬ 
ed  to  stir  up  ministers  to  their  work,  and  to  make 
use  of  their  authority  for  the  furtherance  of  religion; 
ministers  must  likewise  learn  to  go  before  in  the 
way  of  God,  and  not  to  shrink  or  draw  back  when 
dangers  are  before  them.  They  must  expect  to  be 
most  struck  at,  but  they  know  whom  they  have 
trusted. 

7.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Joshua,  This 
dajr  will  I  begin  to  magnify  thee  in  the  sight 
of  all  Israel,  that  they  may  know  that,  as  ] 
was  with  Moses,  so  1  will  be  with  thee.  8. 
And  thou  shalt  command  the  priests  that 
bear  the  ark  of  the  covenant,  saying,  When 
ye  are  come  to  the  brink  of  the  water  of 
Jordan,  ye  shall  stand  still  in  Jordan.  9. 
And  Joshua  said  unto  the  children  of  Israel, 
Come  hither,  and  hear  the  words  of  the 
Lord  your  God.  10.  And  Joshua  said, 
Hereby  ye  shall  know  that  the  living  God 
is  among  you,  and  that  he  will  without  fail 
drive  out  from  before  you  the  Canaanites, 
and  the  Hittites,  and  the  Hivites,  and  the 
Perizzites,  and  the  Girgashites,  and  the 
Amorites,  and  the  Jebusites.  11.  Behold, 
the  ark  of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord  of  all 
the  earth  passeth  over  before  you  into  Jor¬ 
dan.  12.  Now  therefore  take  ye  twelve 
men  out  of  the  tribes  of  Israel,  out  of  every 
tribe  a  man.  1 3.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass, 
as  soon  as  the  soles  of  the  feet  of  the  priests 
that  bear  the  ark  of  the  Lord,  the  Lord  of 
all  the  earth,  shall  rest  in  the  waters  of  Jor¬ 
dan,  that  the  waters  of  Jordan  shall  be  cut 
off  from  the  waters  that  come  down  from 
above ;  and  they  shall  stand  upon  a  heap. 

We  may  observe  here  how  God  honours  Joshua, 
and,  by  this  wondrous  work  he  is  about  to  do,  de  ■ 
signs  to  make  Israel  know  that  he  is  their  governor 
And  then,  how  Joshua  honours  God,  and  endea 
vours  by  it  to  make  Israe  know  that  he  is  their  God. 
Thus  those  that  honour  God  he  will  honour,  and 
those  whom  he  has  advanced,  should  do  what  they 
can  in  their  places  to  exalt  him. 

I.  God  speaks  to  Joshua  to  put  honour  upon  him, 
v.  7,  8. 

1.  It  was  a  great  honour  God  did  him  that  he 
spake  to  him,  as  he  had  done  to  Moses  from  off  the 
mercy-seat,  before  the  priests  removed  it  with  the 
ark.  This  would  make  Joshua  easy  in  himself  and 
great  among  the  people,  that  God  was  pleased  to 
speak  so  familiarly  to  him. 

2.  That  he  designed  to  magnify  him  in  the  sight 
of  all  Israel.  He  had  told  him  before  he  would  be 
with  him,  ch.  1.  5.  that  comforted  him,  but  now  all 
Israel  shall  see  it,  and  that  magnified  him.  Those 
are  truly  great  with  whom  God  is,  and  whom  he 
employs  and  owns  in  his  service.  God  magnified 
him,  because  he  would  have  the  people  magnify 
him.  Pious  magistrates  are  to  be  highly  honoured 
and  esteemed  as  public  blessings,  and  the  more  we 
see  of  God  with  them,  the  more  we  should  honour 
them.  By  the  dividing  of  the  Red-sea,  Israel  was 
convinced  that  God  was  with  Moses  in  bringing 

!  them  out  of  Egypt;  therefore  they  are  said  to  be 


21 


JOSHUA,  111. 


baptized  unto  Moses  in  the  sea,  1  Cor.  10.  2.  And 
upon  that  occasion  they  believed  him,  Exod.  14.  31. 
And  now  by  the  dividing  of  Jordan,  they  shall  be 
convinced,  that  God  is  in  like  manner  with  Joshua 
in  bringing  them  into  Canaan.  God  had  magnified 
Joshua  before  on  several  occasions,  but  now  he  be¬ 
gan  to  magnify  him  as  the  successor  of  Moses  in  the 
government.  Some  have  observed,  it  was  at  the 
banks  of  Jordan  that  God  began  to  magnify  Joshua, 
and  at  the  same  place  he  began  to  magnify  our 
Lord  Jesus  as  Mediator;  for  John  was  baptizing  at 
Bethabara,  the  house  of  passage,  and  there  it  was, 
that  when  our  Saviour  was  baptized,  it  was  pro¬ 
claimed  concerning  him.  This  is  my  beloved  Son. 

3.  That  by  him  he  gave  orders  to  the  priests 
themselves,  though  they  were  his  immediate  at¬ 
tendants,  v.  8,  Thou  shalt  command  the  priests, 
that  is,  “Thou  shalt  make  known  to  them  the  di¬ 
vine  command  in  this  matter,  and  take  care  that 
they  observe  it,  to  stand  still  at  the  brink  of  Jordan 
while  the  waters  part,  that  it  may  appear  to  be  at 
the  presence  of  the  Lord,  of  the  mighty  God  of  Ja¬ 
cob,  that  Jordan  is  driven  back,”  Ps.  114.  5,  7. 
God  could  have  divided  the  river  without  the 
priests,  but  they  could  not  without  him.  The 
priests  must  herein  set  a  good  example  to  the  peo¬ 
ple,  and  teach  them  to  do  their  utmost  in  the 
service  of  God,  and  trust  him  for  help  in  time  of 
need. 

II.  Joshua  speaks  to  the  people,  and  therein  ho¬ 
nours  God. 

1.  He  demands  attention,  v.  9.  “  Come  hither  to 
me,  as  many  as  can  come  within  hearing,  and  before 
you  see  the  works,  hear  the  words  of  the  Lord  your 
God,  that  you  may  compare  them  together,  and 
they  may  illustrate  each  other.”  He  had  com¬ 
manded  them  to  sanctify  themselves,  and  therefore 
calls  them  to  hear  the  word  of  God,  for  that  is  the 
ordinary  means  of  sanctification,  John  17.  17. 

2.  He  now  tells  them  at  length,  by  what  way  they 
should  pass  over  Jordan,  by  the  stopping  of  its 
stream,  v.  13,  The  waters  of  Jordan  shall  be  cut 
off-  God  could  by  a  sudden  and  miraculous  frost 
have  congealed  the  surface,  so  that  they  might  all 
have  gone  over  upon  the  ice;  but  that  being  a  thing 
sometimes  done  even  in  that  country,  by  the  ordi¬ 
nary  power  of  nature,  (Job  38.  30.)  it  would  not 
have  been  such  an  honour  to  Israel’s  God,  nor  such 
a  terror  to  Israel’s  enemies;  it  must  therefore  be 
done  in  such  a  way  as  had  no  precedent  but  the  di¬ 
viding  of  the  Red-sea:  and  that  miracle  is  here 
repeated,  to  show  that  God  has  the  same  power  to 
finish  the  salvation  of  his  people,  that  he  had  to  be¬ 
gin  it,  for  he  is  the  yllpha  and  the  Omega;  and  that 
the  Word  of  the  Lord,  (as  the  Chaldee  reads  it,  v. 
7.)  the  essent:al  eternal  Word  was  as  truly  with 
Joshua  as  he  was  with  Moses.  And  by  the  dividing 
of  the  waters  from  the  waters,  and  the  making  of 
the  dry  land  to  appear  which  had  been  covered, 
God  would  remind  them  of  that  which  Moses  by 
revelation  had  instructed  them  in,  concerning  the 
work  of  creation,  Gen.  1.  6,  9.  That  by  what  they 
now  saw,  their  belief  of  that  which  they  there  read, 
might  be  assisted,  and  they  might  know  that  the 
God  whom  they  worshipped,  was  the  same  God 
that  made  the  world,  and  that  it  was  the  same 
power  that  was  engaged  and  employed  for  them. 

3.  The  people  having  been  directed  before  to  fol¬ 
low  the  ark,  are  here  told  that  it  should  pass  before 
them  into  Jordan,  v.  11.  Observe,  (1.)  The  ark 
of  the  covenant  must  be  their  guide.  During  the 
reign  of  Moses,  the  cloud  was  their  guide,  but  now, 
in  Joshua’s  reign,  the  ark;  both  were  visible  signs 
of  God’s  presence  and  presidency,  but  divine  grace 
under  the  Mosaic  dispensation  was  wrapt  up  as  in  a 
cloud  and  covered  with  a  vail,  while  by  Christ,  our 
Joshua,  it  is  revealed  in  the  ark  of  the  covenant  un¬ 


vailed,  (2.)  It  is  called  the  ark  of  the  covenant  oj 
the  Lord  op  all  the  earth.  “  He  that  is  your  God, 
v.  9.  in  covenant  with  you,  is  the  Lord  of  all  the 
earth,  has  both  right  and  power  to  command,  con¬ 
trol,  use,  and  dispose  of  all  nations  and  of  all  crea¬ 
tures.  He  is  the  Lord  of  all  the  earth,  therefore 
he  needs  not  you,  nor  can  be  benefited  by  you; 
therefore  it  is  your  honour  and  happiness  to  have 
him  in  covenant  with  you:  if  he  be  your’s,  all  the 
creatures  are  at  your  service,  and  when  he  pleases, 
shall  be  employed  for  you.”  When  we  are  praising 
and  worshipping  God  as  Israel’s  God,  and  our’s 
through  Christ,  we  must  remember  that  he  is  the 
Lord  of  the  whole  earth,  and  reverence  him  and 
trust  in  him  accordingly.  Some  observe  an  accent 
in  the  original,  which  they  think  directs  us  to  trans¬ 
late  it  somewhat  more  emphatically,  Behold  the  ark 
of  the  covenant,  even  the  ark  of  the  Lord,  or  even 
of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord  of  all  the  earth.  (3.) 
They  are  told  that  the  ark  should  pass  before  them 
into  Jordan,  God  would  not  appoint  them  to  go  any 
where,  but  where  he  himself  would  go  before  them, 
and  go  with  them;  and  they  might  safely  venture, 
even  into  Jordan  itself,  if  the  ark  of  the  covenant 
led  them.  While  we  make  God’s  precepts  our  rule, 
his  promises  our  stay,  and  his  providence  our  guide, 
we  need  not  dread  the  greatest  difficulties  we  may 
meet  with  in  the  way  of  duty.  That  promise  is 
sure  to  all  the  seed,  Isa.  43.  2,  When  thou  passest 
through  the  waters,  I  will  be  with  thee,  and  through 
the  rivers,  they  shall  not  overfow  thee. 

4.  From  what  God  was  now  about  to  do  for  them, 
he  infers  an  assurance  of  what  he  would  yet  further 
do.  This  he  mentions  first,  so  much  was  his  heart 
upon  it,  and  so  great  a  satisfaction  did  it  give  him, 
v.  10.  “  Hereby  ye  shall  know  that  the  living  God 

(the  true  God,  and  God  of  power,  not  one  of  the 
dead  gods  of  the  heathen)  is  among  you,  though  you 
see  him  not,  nor  are  to  have  any  image  of  him;  is 
among  you  to  give  you  law,  secure  your  welfare, 
and  receive  your  homage:  is  among  you  in  this  great 
undertaking  now  before  you;  and  therefore  ye  shall, 
nay,  he  himself,  will,  without  fail,  drive  out  from 
before  you  the  Canaanites.  ”  So  that  the  dividing  of 
Jordan  was  intended  to  be  to  them,  (1.)  A  sure  to¬ 
ken  of  God’s  presence  with  them ;  by  this  they  could 
not  but  know  that  God  was  among  them,  unless 
their  unbelief  was  as  obstinate  against  the  most  con¬ 
vincing  evidence,  as  that  of  their  fathers  was,  who, 
presently  after  God  had  divided  the  Red-sea  before 
them,  impudently  asked,  Is  the  Lord  among  us,  or 
is  he  not ?  Exod.  17.  7.  (2.)  A  sure  pledge  of  the 

conquests  of  Canaan;  if  the  living  God  is  among  you, 
expelling  he  will  expel,  (so  the  Hebrew  phrase  is) 
from  before  you  the  Canaanites.  He  will  do  it  cer¬ 
tainly,  and  do  it  effectually.  What  should  hinder 
him?  What  can  stand  in  his  way,  before  whom 
rivers  are  divided,  and  dried  up?  The  forcing  cf 
the  lines  was  a  certain  presage  of  the  ruin  of  all 
their  hosts:  how  could  they  stand  their  ground 
when  Jordan  itself  was  driven  back?  When  they 
had  not  courage  to  dispute  this  pass,  but  tremb'ecl 
at  the  approach  of  the  mighty  God  of  Jacob,  Ps. 
114.  7.  What1  opposition  could  they  ever  make  af¬ 
ter  this?  This  assurance  which  Joshua  here  gives 
them,  was  so  well  grounded,  as  that  it  would  enable 
one  Israelite  to  chase  a  thousand  Canaanites,  and 
two  to  put  ten  thousand  to  flight:  and  it  would  be 
abundantly  strengthened  by  remembering  the  song 
of  Moses,  dictated  forty  years  before,  which  plainly 
foretold  the  dividing  of  Jordan,  and  the  influence  it 
would  bave  upon  the  driving  out  of  the  Canaanites, 
Exod.  15.  15* -17.  The  inhabitants  of  Canaan  shall 
melt  await,  and  so  be  effectually  driven  out,  thev 
shall  be  as  still  as  a  stone  till  thy  people  pass  over, 
and  then  thou  shalt  bring  them  in  and  plant  them. 
Note,  God’s  glorious  appearances  for  his  church 


JOSHUA,  Ill. 


and  people,  ought  to  be  improved  by  us  tor  the  en- 
cour  gement  oi  our  faith  and  hope  for  the  future. 
As  for  Clod,  his  work  is  perfect.  If  Jordan’s  flood 
cannot  keep  them  out,  Canaan's  force  cannot  turn 
them  out  again. 

5.  He  directs  them  to  get  twelve  men  ready,  one 
of  each  tribe,  who  must  be  within  call,  to  receive 
such  orders  as  Joshua  should  afterward  give  them, 
v.  12.  It  does  not  appear  that  they  were  to  attend 
the  priests,  and  walk  with  them  when  they  carried 
tne  ark,  that  they  might  more  immediately  be 
witnesses  of  the  wonders  done  by  it,  as  some  think; 
but  they  were  to  be  at  hand  for  the  service  they 
were  called  to,  ch.  4.  4,  &c. 

14.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  the  peo¬ 
ple  removed  from  their  tents,  to  pass  over 
Jordan,  and  the  priests  bearing  the  ark  of 
the  covenant  before  the  people;  15.  And  as 
they  that  bear  the  ark  were  come  unto  Jor¬ 
dan,  and  the  feet  of  the  priests  that  bare  the 
ark  were  dipped  in  the  brim  of  the  water, 
(for  Jordan  overfloweth  all  his  banks  at  the 
time  of  harvest,)  16.  That  the  waters  which 
came  down  from  above  stood  and  rose  up 
upon  a  heap  very  far  from  the  city  Adam, 
that  is  beside  Zaretan :  and  those  that 
came  down  toward  the  sea  of  the  plain, 
even  the  salt  sea,  failed,  and  were  cut  off: 
and  the  people  passed  over  right  against 
Jericho.  17.  And  the  priests  that  bare  the 
ark  of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord  stood  firm 
on  dry  ground  in  the  midst  of  Jordan  ;  and 
all  the  Israelites  passed  over  on  dry  ground, 
until  all  the  people  were  passed  clean  over 
Jordan. 

Here  we  have  a  short  and  plain  account  of  the 
dividing  of  the  river  Jordan,  and  the  passage  of  the 
children  of  Israel  through  it.  The  story  is  not  gar¬ 
nished  with  the  flowers  of  rhetoric,  gold  needs  not 
to  be  painted;  but  it  tells  us,  in  short,  matter  of 
fact. 

1.  That  this  river  was  now  broader  and  deeper 
than  usually  it  was  at  other  times  of  the  year,  v.  15. 
The  melting  of  the  snow  upon  the  mountains 
of  Lebanon,  near  which  this  river  had  its  rise, 
was  the  occasion,  that,  at  the  time  of  harvest, 
barley-harvest,  which  was  the  spring  of  the  year, 
Jordan  overflowed  all  his  banks.  This  great  flood, 
just  at  that  time,  (which  Providence  might  have 
restrained  for  once,  or  which  he  might  have  order¬ 
ed  them  to  cross  at  another  time  of  the  year,)  very 
much  magnified  the  power  of  God  and  his  kindness 
to  Israel.  Note,  Though  the  opposition  given  to 
the  salvation  of  God’s  people,  have  all  imaginable 
advantages,  yet  God  can  and  will  conquer  it.  Let 
the  banks  of  Jordan  be  filled  to  the  brink,  filled  till 
they  run  over,  it  is  as  easy  to  Omnipotence  to  divide 
them,  and  dry  them  up,  as  if  they  were  never  so 
narrow,  never  so  shallow;  it  is  all  one  with  the 
Lord. 

2.  That  as  soon  as  ever  the  feet  of  the  priests 
dipped  in  the  brim  of  the  water,  the  stream  stop¬ 
ped  immediately,  as  if  a  sluic-1  nad  been  made  to 
dam  it  up,  v.  15,  16.  So  that  the  waters  above 
swelled,  stood  on  a  heap,  and  ran  back,  and  yet,  as 
it  should  seem,  did  not  spread,  but  congealed; 
which  unaccountable  rising  of  the  river  was  ob¬ 
served  with  amazement  by  those  that  lived  upward 
upon  it  many  miles  oft',  and  the  remembrance  of  it 


remained  among  them  long  after;  the  waters  on  the 
ether  side  this  invisible  dam  ran  down  of  course, 
and  left  the  bottom  of  the  river  dry  as  far  down 
ward,  it  is  likely,  as  they  swelled  upward.  When 
they  passed  through  the  Red-sea,  the  waters  were 
a  wall  on  either  hand,  here  only  on  the  right  hand. 
Note,  The  God  of  nature,  can,  when  he  pleases, 
change  the  course  of  nature,  and  alter  its  proper¬ 
ties,  can  turn  fluids  into  solids,  waters  into  standing 
rocks,  as  on  the  contrary,  rocks  into  standing  wa¬ 
ters,  to  serve  his  own  purposes.  See  Ps.  114.  5,  8. 
What  cannot  God  do?  What  will  he  not  do  for  the 
perfecting  of  his  people’s  salvation?  Sometimes  he 
cleaves  the  earth  with  rwers,  Hab.  3.  9.  and  some¬ 
times,  as  here,  cleaves  the  rivers  without  earth.  It 
is  easy  to  imagine  how,  when  the  course  of  this 
strong  and  rapid  stream  was  arrested  on  a  sudden, 
the  waters  roared  and  were  troubled,  so  that  the 
mountains  seemed  to  shake  with  the  swelling  there¬ 
of,  Ps.  46.  3.  how  the  floods  lifted  their  voice,  the 
floods  lifted  up  their  waves,  while  the  Lord  on  high 
showed  himself  mightier  than  the  noise  of  these 
many  waters,  Ps.  93.  3,  4.  With  reference  to  this, 
the  prophet  asks,  Was  the  Lord  displeased  against 
the  rivers,  was  thine  anger  against  the  rwers?  Hab. 

3.  8.  No,  Thou  wentest  forth  for  the  salvation  of 
thy  people,  v.  13.  In  allusion  to  this,  it  is  foretold 
among  the  great  things  God  will  do  for  the  Gospel- 
church  in  the  latter  days,  that  the  great  river  Eu¬ 
phrates  shall  be  dried  up,  that  the  way  of  the  Kings 
of  the  east  may  be  prepared.  Rev.  16.  12.  When 
the  time  is  erme  for  Israel’s  entrance  into  the  land 
of  promise,  all  the  difficulties  shall  be  conquered, 
mountains  shall  become  plains,  Zech.  4.  7.  and 
rivers  become  dry,  for  the  ransomed  of  the  Lord  to 
pass  over.  When  we  have  finished  our  pilgrimage 
through  this  wilderness,  death  will  be  like  this  Jor¬ 
dan  between1  us  and  the  heavenly  Canaan,  but  the 
ark  of  the  covenant  has  prepared  us  a  way  through 
it,  it  is  the  last  enemy  that  shall  be  destroyed. 

3.  That  the  people  'passed  over  right  against  Jeri¬ 
cho,  which  was  (1.)  An  instance  ot  their  boldness, 
and  a  noble  defiance  of  their  enemies;  Jericho  was 
one  of  the  strongest  cities,  and  yet  they  dared  to 
face  it  at  their  first  entrance.  (2.)  It  was  an  en¬ 
couragement  to  them  to  venture  through  Jordan, 
for  Jericho  was  a  goodly  city,  and  the  country  about 
it  extremely  pleasant;  and  having  that  in  view  as 
their  own,  what  difficulties  could  discourage  them 
from  taking  possession?  (3.)  It  would  increase  the 
confusion  and  terror  of  their  enemies,  who,  no 
doubt,  strictly  observed  their  motions,  and  were  the 
amazed  spectators  of  this  work  of  wonders. 

4.  That  the  priests  stood  still  in  the  midst  of  Jor¬ 
dan  while  the  people  passed  over,  v.  17.  There  the 
ark  was  appointed  to  be,  to  show  that  the  same 
power  that  parted  the  waters,  kept  them  parted 
as  long  as  there  was  occasion,  and  had  not  the  di¬ 
vine  presence,  of  which  the  ark  was  a  token,  been 
their  security,  the  water  had  returned  upon  them 
and  buried  them.  There  the  priests  were  appoint¬ 
ed  to  stand  still,  (1.)  To  try  their  faith,  whether 
they  could  venture  to  take  their  post  when  God  as¬ 
signed  it  them,  with  mountains  of  water  over  their 
heads:  as  they  made  a  bold  step  when  they  set  the 
first  foot  into  Jordan,  so  now  they  made  a  bold  stand 
when  they  tarried  longest  in  Jordan;  but  they  knew 
they  carried  their  own  protection  with  them.  Note, 
Ministers  in  times  of  peril  should  be  examples  of 
courage  and  confidence  in  the  divine  goodness.  (2.) 
It  was  to  encourage  the  faith  of  the  people,  that 
they  might  go  triumphantly  into  Canaan,  and  fear 
no  evil,  no  not  in  this  valley  of  the  shadow  of  death, 
(for  so  the  divided  river  was)  being  assured  of  God’s 
presence  which  interposed  between  them  and  the 
greatest  danger,  between  them  and  the  proud  wa¬ 
ters,  which  otherwise  had  gone  over  their  souls 


JOSHUA,  IV.  23 


Thus  in  the  greatest  dangers  the  saints  are  com¬ 
forted  with  his  rod  and  his  staff,  Ps.  23.  4. 

CHAP.  IV. 

This  chapter  gives  a  further  account  of  the  miraculous 
passage  of  Israel  through  Jordan.  I.  The  provision  that 
was  made  at  that  time  to  preserve  the  memorial  of  it,  by 
twelve  stones  set  up  in  Jordan,  v.  9.  and  other  twelve 
stones  taken  up  out  of  Jordan,  v.  1  . .  8.  II.  The  march 
of  the  people  through  Jordan’s  channel,  the  two  tribes 
first,  then  all  the  people,  and  the  priests  that  hare  the 
ark  last,  v.  10..  14.  III.  The  closing  of  the  waters 
again  upon  their  coming  up  with  the  ark,  v.  15..  19. 
IV.  Tne  erecting  of  the  monument  in  Gilgal,  to  preserve 
the  remembrance  of  this  work  of  wonder  to  posterity, 
v.  20 . .  24. 

1 .  A  N  D  it  came  to  pass,  when  all  the  peo- 
-t\.  pie  were  clean  passed  over  Jordan, 

that  the  Lord  spake  unto  Joshua,  saying, 

2.  Take  you  twelve  men  out  of  the  people, 

out  of  every  tribe  a  man,  3.  And  com¬ 
mand  you  them,  saying,  Take  you  hence 
out  of  the  midst  of  Jordan,  out  of  the  place 
where  the  priests’  feet  stood  firm,  twelve 
stones  ;  and  ye  shall  carry  them  over  with 
you,  and  leave  them  in  the  lodging  place 
where  you  shall  lodge  this  night.  4.  Then 
Joshua  called  the  twelve  men  whom  he  had 
prepared  of  the  children  of  Israel,  out  of 
every  tribe  a  man :  5.  And  Joshua  said 

unto  them,  Pass  over  before  the  ark  of  the 
Lord  your  God  into  the  midst  of  Jordan, 
and  take  ye  up  every  man  of  you  a  stone 
upon  his  shoulder,  according  unto  the  num¬ 
ber  of  the  tribes  of  the  children  of  Israel :  6. 
That  this  may  be  a  sign  among  you,  that 
when  your  children  ask  their  fathers  in  time 
to  come,  saying,  What  mean  you  by  these 
stones?  7.  Then  ye  shall  answer  them, 
That  the  waters  of  Jordan  were  cut  offbe-  - 
fore  the  ark  of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord; 
when  it  passed  over  Jordan,  the  waters  of 
Jordan  were  cut  off :  and  these  stones  shall 
be  for  a  memorial  unto  the  children  of  Is-  j 
rael  for  ever.  8.  And  the  children  of  Israel 
did  so  as  Joshua  commanded,  and  took  up 
twelve  stones  out  of  the  midst  of  Jordan,  as 
the  Lord  spake  unto  Joshua,  according  to 
the  number  of  the  tribes  of  the  children  of 
Israel,  and  carried  them  over  with  them 
unto  the  place  where  they  lodged,  and  laid 
them  down  there.  9.  And  Joshua  set  up 
twelve  stones  in  the  midst  of  Jordan,  in 
the  place  where  the  feet  of  the  priests  which 
bare  the  ark  of  the  covenant  stood :  and 
they  are  there  unto  this  day. 

We  may  well  imagine  how  busy  Joshua  and  all 
the  men  of  war  were,  while  they  were  passing  over 
Jordan,  when  beside  their  own  marching  into  an 
enemy’s  country,  and  in  the  face  of  the  enemv, 
which  could  not  but  occasion  them  many  thoughts 
of  heart,  they  had  their  wives,  and  children,  and 
families,  their  cattle,  and  tents,  and  all  their  effects, 
bag  and  baggage,  to  convey  by  this  strange  and  un¬ 
trodden  path  whicl  we  must  suppose  either  very 


muddy,  or  very  stony,  troublesome  to  thi  weaK, 
and  frightful  to  the  timorous,  the  descent  to  the 
bottom  of  the  ri\  er,  and  the  ascent  out  of  it  steep, 
so  that  every  man  must  needs  have  his  head  full  cf 
care  and  his  hands  full  of  business,  and  Joshua  more 
than  any  of  them.  And  yet  in  the  midst  of  all  his 
hurry,  care  must  be  taken  to  perpetuate  the  memo 
rial  of  this  wondrous  work  of  God,  and  this  care 
might  not  be  adjourned  to  a  time  of  greater  leisure. 
Note,  How  much  soever  we  have  to  do  of  business 
for  ourselves,  and  our  families,  we  must  not  neg¬ 
lect  or  omit  what  we  have  to  do  for  the  glory  of 
God  and  the  serving  of  his  honour,  for  that  is  cur 
best  business.  Now, 

I.  God  gave  orders  for  the  preparing  of  this  me¬ 
morial.  Had  Joshua  done  it  without  di\ine  direc¬ 
tion,  it  might  have  looked  like  a  design  to  perpetu¬ 
ate  his  own  name  and  honour,  nor  would  it  have 
commanded  so  sacred  and  venerable  a  regard  from 
posterity,  as  now,  when  God  himself  appointed  it. 
Note,  God’s  works  of  wonder  ought  to  be  kept  in 
everlasting  remembrance,  and  means  devised  for  the 
preserving  of  the  memorial  of  them.  Some  of  the 
Israelites  that  passed  over  Jordan,  perhaps  were  so 
stupid,  and  so  little  affected  with  this  great  favour 
of  God  to  them,  that  they  felt  no  concern  to  have  it 
remembered;  while  others,  it  may  be,  were  so 
much  affected  w’ith  it,  and  had  such  deep  impres¬ 
sions  made  upon  them  by  it,  that  they  thought  there 
needed  no  memorial  of  it  to  be  erected,  the  heart 
and  tongue  of  every  Israelite  in  every  age  would  be 
a  living,  lasting  monument  of  it.  But  God,  know¬ 
ing  their  frame,  and  how  apt  they  had  been  soon  to 
forget  his  works,  ordered  an  expedient  for  the 
keeping  of  th’s  in  remembrance  to  all  generations, 
that  those  who  could  not,  or  would  not,  read  the 
record  of  it  in  sacred  history,  might  come  to  the 
knowledge  of  it  by  the  monument  set  up  in  remem¬ 
brance  of  it,  which  the  common  tradition  of  the 
country  would  be  an  explication  of;  it  would  like¬ 
wise  serve  to  corroborate  the  proof  of  the  matter  of 
fact,  and  would  remain  a  standing  evidence  of  it  to 
those  who  in  after-ages  might  question  the  truth 
of  it. 

A  monument  is  to  be  erected,  and  1.  Joshua,  as 
chief  captain,  must  give  directions  about  it,  v.  1. 
When  all  the  people  were  clean  passed  o-ver  Jordan, 
not  even  the  feeble,  that  were  the  hindmost  ol 
them,  left  behind,  so  that  God  had  done  his  work 
completely,  and  every  Israelite  got  safe  into  Ca¬ 
naan,  then  God  spake  unto  Joshua  to  provide  ma¬ 
terials  for  this  monument.  It  is  the  pious  conjecture 
of  the  learned  Bishop  Patrick,  that  Joshua  was  gone 
into  some  place  of  retirement,  to  return  thanks  im¬ 
mediately  for  this  wonderful  mercy,  and  then  God 
met  him,  and  spake  thus  to  him.  '  Or,  perhaps,  it 
was  by  Eleazar  the  priest,  that  God  gave  these  and 
other  instructions  to  Joshua,  for  though  he  is  not 
mentioned  here,  yet  when  Joshua  was  ordained  bv 
the  imposition  of  hands  to  this  great  trust,  God  ap¬ 
pointed  that  Eleazar  should  ask  counsel  for  him  af¬ 
ter  the  judgment  of  Urim,  and  at  his  word,  Joshua, 
and  all  the  children  of  Israel  must,  go  out  and  come 
in,  Numb.  27.  21.  2.  One  man  out  of  each  tribe, 

and  he  a  chosen  man,  must  be  employed  to  prepare 
materials  for  this  monument,  that  each  tribe  might 
have  the  story  told  them  by  one  of  themselves,  and 
each  tribe  might  contribute  something  to  the  glory 
of  God  thereby,  v.  2,  4,  Out  of  every  tribe  a  man. 
Not  the  Levites  only,  but  every  Israelite  must,  in 
his  place,  help  to  make  known  to  the  sons  of  men 
God’s  mighty  acts,  Ps.  145.  12.  The  two  tribes, 
though  seated  already  in  their  possession,  yet  shar¬ 
ing  in  the  mercy,  must  lend  a  hand  to  the  memorial 
of  it.  3.  The  stones  that  must  be  set  up  for  this 
memorial,  are  ordered  to  be  taken  out  of  the  midst 
cf  the  channel,  (where,  probably,  there  lav  abun 


JOSHUA,  IV. 


J4 

dance  of  great  stones,)  and  as  near  as  might  be  from 
the  very  place  where  the  priests  stood  with  the  ark, 
v.  8,  5.  This  intended  monument  deserved  to 
have  been  made  of  stones  curiously  cut  with  the 
finest  and  most  exquisite  art,  but  these  stones  out 
of  the  bottom  of  the  river  were  more  natural  and 
more  apt  indications  of  the  miracle;  let  posterity 
know  by  this,  that  Jordan  was  driven  back,  for 
these  very  stones  were  then  fetched  out  of  it.  In 
the  institution  of  signs,  God  always  chose  that 
which  was  most  proper  and  significant,  rather  chan 
that  which  is  pompous  or  curious;  for  God  hath 
chosen  the  foolish  things  of  the  world.  These 
twelve  men,  after  they  got  over  Jordan,  must  be 
sent  back  to  the  place  where  the  ark  stood,  being 
permitted  to  come  near  it,  (which  others  might 
not,)  for  this  service;  pass  over  before  the  ark,  v. 
5.  that  is,  “into  the  presence  of  the  ark,  which 
now  stands  in  the  midst  of  Jordan,  and  thence  fetch 
these  stones.”  4.  The  use  of  these  stones  is  here 
appointed  for  a  sign,  v.  6.  a  memorial,  v.  7.  They 
would  give  occasion  to  the  children  to  ask  their  pa¬ 
rents  in  time  to  come,  How  came  these  sto?ies  thi¬ 
ther ?  Probably  the  land  about  was  not  stony;  but 
the  parents  would  inform  them,  as  they  themselves 
had  been  informed,  that  in  this  place  Jordan  was 
divided  by  the  almighty  power  of  God,  to  give  Is¬ 
rael  passage  into  Canaan,  as  Joshua  enlarges  on  this 
head,  x\  22,  See. 

II.  According  to  these  orders  the  thing  was  done. 

1.  Twelve  stones  were  taken  up  out  of  the  midst 
of  Jordan,  and  carried  in  the  sight  of  the  people  to 
the  place  where  they  had  their  head-quarters  that 
night,  v.  8.  It  is  probable  that  the  stones  they 
took,  were  as  big  as  they  could  well  carry,  and  as 
near  a-s  might  be  of  a  size  and  shape.  But  whether 
they  went  away  with  them  immediately  to  the 

lace,  or  whether  they  staid  to  attend  the  ark,  and 
ept  pace  with  the  solemn  precession  of  that,  to 
grace  its  triumphant  entry  into  Canaan,  is  not  cer¬ 
tain.  By  hese  stones,  which  they  were  ordered  to 
take  up,  God  did,  as  it  were,  give  them  livery  and 
seisin  of  this  good  land,  it  is  all  their  own,  let  them 
enter  and  take  possession;  therefore  what  these 
twelve  did,  the  children  of  Israel  are  said  to  do,  v. 

8.  because  they  were'  the  representatives  of  their 
respective  tribes.  In  allusion  to  this,  we  may  ob¬ 
serve,  that  when  the  Lord  Jesus,  our  Joshua,  hav¬ 
ing  overcome  the  sharpness  of  death,  and  dried  up 
that  Jordan,  had  opened  the  kingdom  of  heaven  to 
all  believers,  he  appointed  his  twelve  apostles,  ac¬ 
cording  to  the  number  of  the  tribes  of  Israel,  by  the 
memorial  of  the  gospel  to  transmit  the  knowledge 
of  this  to  remote  places  and  future  ages. 

2.  Other  twelve  stones  (probably,  much  larger 
than  the  other,  for  we  read  not  that  they  were  each 
of  them  one  man’s  load)  were  set  up  in  the  midst 
of  Jordan ,  v.  9.  piled  up  so  high  in  a  heap  or  pillar, 
as  that  the  top  of  it  might  be  seen  above  water, 
when  the  river  was  low,  or  seen  in  the  water,  when  ' 
it  was  clear,  or  at  least  the  noise  or  commotion  of 
the  water  passing  over  it  would  be  observable,  and 
the  bargemen  would  avoid  it,  as  they  do  a  rock; 
some  wav  or  other,  it  is  likely,  it  was  discernible  so 
as  to  notify  the  very  place  where  the  ark  stood,  and 
to  serve  for  a  duplicate  to  the  other  monument, 
which  was  to  be  set  on  dry  land  in  Gilgal,  for  the 
confirming  of  its  testimony,  and  the  preserving  of 
its  tradition.  The  sign  being  doubled,  no  doubt, 
the  thing  was  certain. 

10.  For  the  priests  which  hare  the  ark 
stood  in  the  midst  of  Jordan,  until  every  thing; 
was  finished  that  the  Lord  commanded 
Joshua  to  speak  unto  the  people,  according; 
to  all  that  Moses  commanded  Joshua :  and 


the  people  hasted  and  passed  over.  1 1 .  And 
it  came  to  pass,  when  all  the  people  were 
clean  passed  over,  that  the  ark  of  the  Lord 
passed  over,  and  the  priests,  in  the  presence 
of  the  people.  12.  And  the  children  of 
Reuben,  and  the  children  of  Gad,  and  half 
the  tribe  of  Manasseh,  passed  over  armed 
before  the  children  of  Israel,  as  Moses 
spake  unto  them:  13.  About  forty  thou¬ 
sand  prepared  for  war  passed  over  before 
the  Lord  unto  battle,  to  the  plains  of  Jeri¬ 
cho.  14.  On  that  day  the  Lord  magnified 
Joshua  in  the  sight  of  all  Israel ;  and  they 
feared  him,  as  they  feared  Moses,  all  the 
days  of  his  life.  15.  And  the  Lord  spake 
unto  Joshua,  saying,  16.  Command  the 
priests  that  bear  the  ark  of  the  testimony, 
that  they  come  up  out  of  Jordan.  17. 
Joshua  therefore  commanded  the  priests, 
saying,  Come  ye  up  out  of  Jordan.  18. 
And  it  came  to  pass,  w7hen  the  priests  that 
bare  the  ark  of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord 
were  come  up  out  of  the  midst  of  Jordan, 
and  the  soles  of  the  priests’  feet  were  lifted 
up  unto  the  dry  land,  that  the  waters  of  Jor¬ 
dan  returned  unto  their  place,  and  flowed 
over  all  his  banks,  as  they  did  before.  19. 
And  the  people  came  up  out  of  Jordan 
on  the  tenth  day  of  the  first  month,  and  en¬ 
camped  in  Gilgal,  in  the  east  border  of  Je¬ 
richo. 

The  inspired  historian  seems  to  be  so  well  pleas¬ 
ed  with  his  subject  here,  that  he  is  loath  to  quit  it, 
and  is  therefore  very  particular  in  his  narrative,  es¬ 
pecially  in  observing  how  closely  Joshua  pursued 
the  orders  God  gave  him,  and  that  he  did  nothing 
without  divine  direction,  finishing  all  that  the  Lord 
had  commanded  him,  (x>.  10.)  which  is  also  said  to 
be  what  Moses  commanded.  We  read  not  of  any 
particular  commands  that  Moses  gave  Joshua  about 
this  matter,  the  thing  was  altogether  new  to  him. 
It  must  therefore  be  understood  of  the  general  in¬ 
structions  Moses  had  given  him  to  follow  the  divine 
conduct,  to  deliver  that  to  the  people,  which  he  had 
received  of  the  Lord,  and  to  take  all  occasions  to 
remind  them  of  their  duty  to  God,  as  the  best  re¬ 
turn  for  his  favours  to  them:  This  which  Moses, 
who  was  now  dead  and  gone,  had  said  to  him,  he 
had  in  mind  at  this  time,  and  did  accordingly.  It  is 
well  for  us  to  have  the  good  instructions  that  have 
been  given  us,  ready  to  us,  when  we  have  occasion 
for  them. 

1.  All  the  people  hasted  and  passed  over,  v.  111. 
Some  understand  it  of  the  twelve  men  that  carried 
the  stones,  but  it  seems  rather  to  be  meant  of  the 
body  of  the  people;  for  though  an  account  was  given 
of  their  passing  over,  v.  1.  yet  here  it  is  repeated 
for  the  sake  of  this  circumstance,  which  was  to  be 
added,  that  they  passed  over  in  haste,  either  becaust 
Joshua  by  their  officers  ordered  them  to  make  haste, 
for  it  was  to  be  but  one  day’s  work,  and  they  must 
not  leave  a  hoof  behind;  or,  perhaps,  it  was  their 
own  inclination  that  hastened  them.  (1. )  Some  hast¬ 
ed,  because  they  were  not  able  to  trust  God,  they 
were  afraid  the  waters  should  return  upon  them, 
being  conscious  of  guilt,  and  diffident  of  the  divine 
power  and  goodness.  (2.)  Others,  because  they 
were  not  willing  to  tempt  God  to  continue  the  mira- 


25 


JOSHUA,  IV. 


cle  longer  than  needs  must,  nor  would  they  put  the 
patience  cf  the  priests  that  bare  the  ark  too  much 
to  the  stretch  by  unnecessary  delay.  (3. )  Others, 
because  they  were  eager  to  be  in  Canaan,  and  would 
thus  show  how  much  they  longed  after  that  plea¬ 
sant  land.  (4. )  Those  that  considered  least,  yet 
hasted  because  others  did.  He  that  believeth, 
maketh  haste,  not  to  anticifiate  God’s  counsels,  but 
to  attend  them.  Isa.  28.  16. 

2.  The  two  tribes  and  a  half  led  the  van,  v.  12, 
13.  So  they  had  promised,  when  they  had  theirlot 
given  them  on  that  side  Jordan,  Numb.  32.  27. 
And  Joshua  had  lately  reminded  them  cf  their  pro¬ 
mise,  c/i.  1.  12,  8cc.  It  was  fit  that  they  who  had 
the  first  settlement,  should  be  the  first  in  the  en¬ 
counter  of  difficulties,  the  rather,  because  they  had 
not  the  incumbrance  of  families  with  them  as  the 
other  tribes  had,  and  they  were  all  chosen  men,  and 
fit  for  service,  ready  armed.  It  was  a  good  provi¬ 
dence  that  they  had  so  strong  a  body  to  lead  them 
on,  and  would  be  an  encouragement  to  the  rest. 
And 'the  two  tribes  had  no  reason  to  complain,  the 
post  of  danger  is  the  post  of  honour. 

3.  When  all  the  people  were  got  clear  to  the 
other  side,  the  priests  with  the  ark  came  up  out  of 
Jordan.  This,  one  would  think,  should  have  been 
done  of  course,  their  own  reason  would  tell  them 
that  now  there  was  no  more  occasion  for  them,  and 
yet  they  did  not  stir  a  step  till  Joshua  ordered  them 
to  move,  and  Joshua  did  not  order  them  out  of  Jor¬ 
dan  till  God  directed  him  to  do  so,  v.  15 .  .  17.  So 
observant  were  they  of  Joshua,  and  he  of  God, 
which  was  their  praise,  as  it  was  their  happiness  to 
be  under  such  good  direction.  How  low  a  condition 
soever  God  may  at  any  time  bring  his  priests  or 
people  to,  let  them  patiently  wait,  till  by  his  provi¬ 
dence  he  shall  call  them  up  out  of  it,  as  the  priests 
here  were  called  to  come  up  out  of  Jordan,  and  let 
them  not  be  weary  of  waiting,  while  they  have  the 
tokens  of  God’s  presence  with  them,  even  the 
ark  of  the  covenant,  in  the  depth  of  their  ad¬ 
versity. 

4.  As  soon  as  ever  the  priests  and  the  ark  were 
come  up  out  of  Jordan,  the  waters  of  the  river, 
which  had  stood  on  a  heap,  gradually  flowed  down 
according  to  their  nature  and  usual  course,  and  soon 
filled  the  channel  again,  v.  18.  This  makes  it  yet 
more  evident,  that  the  stop  which  had  now  been 
given  to  the  river,  was  not  from  any  secret  natural 
cause;  but  purely  from  the  power  of  God’s  pre¬ 
sence,  and  for  the  sake  of  his  Israel,  for  when  Israel’s 
turn  was  served,  and  the  token  of  his  presence  was 
removed,  immediately  the  water  went  forward 
again:  so  that  if  it  be  asked.  What  ailed  thee,  O 
Jordan,  that  thou  wast  driven  back?  It  must  be 
answered,  It  was  purely  in  obedience  to  the  God 
of  Israel,  and  in  kindness  to  the  Israel  of  God: 
there  is  therefore  none  like  unto  the  God  of  Jeshu- 
run ;  happy  also  art  thou,  0  Israel!  who  is  like  unto 
thee,  0  fieofile?  Some  observe  here,  by  way  of  al¬ 
lusion,  that  when  the  ark  and  the  priests  that 
bare  it,  are  removed  from  any  place,  the  flood-gates 
are  drawn  up,  the  defence  is  departed,  and  an  in¬ 
undation  of  judgments  is  to  be-  expected  shortly. 
Those  that  are  unchurched,  will  soon  be  undone. 
The  glory  is  departed,  if  the  ark  be  taken. 

5.  Notice  is  taken  of  the  honour  put  upon  Joshua 
bv  all  this,  v.  14.  On  that  day  the  Lord  magnified  { 
Joshua,  both  by  the  fellowship  he  admitted  him  to 
with  himself,  speaking  to  him  upon  all  occasions, 
and  being  ready  to  be  consulted  by  him,  and  by  the 
authority  he  confirmed  in  him,  over  both  priests 
and  people.  Those  that  honour  God  he  will  ho¬ 
nour,  and  when  he  will  magnify  a  man,  as  he  had 
said  he  would  magnify  Joshua,  (c/j.  3  7.)  he  will  do 
it  effectually.  Yet  it  was  not  for  Joshua’s  sake  only 
that  he  was  thus  magnified,  but  to  put  him  in  a  ca- 

Vol.  II.— D 


parity  of  doing  so  much  the  more  service  to  Israel, 
for  hereupon  they  feared  him  as  they  feared  Moses. 
See  here  what  is  the  best  and  surest  way  to  com  - 
mand  the  respect  of  inferiors,  and  to  gain  their  re¬ 
verence  and  observance,  not  by  blustering  and 
threatening,  and  carrying  it  with  a  high  hand,  but 
by  holiness  and  love,  and  all  possible  indications 
of  a  constant  regard  to  their  welfare,  and  to  God’s 
will  and  honour.  Those  are  feared  in  the  best 
manner,  and  to  the  best  purpose,  who  make  it  ap¬ 
pear  that  God  is  with  them,  and  that  they  set  him 
before  them.  Those  that  are  sanctified  are  truly 
magnified,  and  are  worthy  of  double  honour.  Fa 
vourites  of  heaven  should  be  looked  on  with  awe. 

6.  An  account  is  kept  of  the  time  of  this  great 
event,  v.  19.  it  was  on  the  tenth  day  of  the  first 
month ,  just  forty  years  since  they  came  out  of 
Egypt,  wanting  five  days.  God  had  said  in  his 
wrath  that  they  should  wander  forty  years  hi  the 
wilderness,  but  to  make  up  that  forty  we  must  take 
in  the  first  year,  which  was  then  past,  and  had  been 
a  year  of  triumph  in  their  deliverance  out  of  Egypt, 
and  this  last,  which  had  been  a  year  of  triumph 
likewise  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  so  that  all  the 
forty  were  not  years  of  sorrow;  and  at  last  he 
brought  them  into  Canaan,  five  days  before  the  forty 
years  were  ended,  to  show  how  little  pleasure  God 
takes  in  punishing,  how  swift  he  is  to  show  mercy, 
and  that  for  the  elect’s  sake  the  days  of  trouble  are 
shortetied,  Matt.  24.  22.  God  ordered  it  so  that 
they  should  enter  Canaan  four  days  before  the  an¬ 
nual  solemnity  of  the  passover,  and  on  the  very  day 
when  the  preparation  for  it  was  to  begin,  Exod  12. 
3.  because  he  would  have  their  entrance  into  Canaan 
graced  and  sanctified  with  that  religious  feast,  and 
would  have  them  to  be  reminded  of  their  deliver¬ 
ance  out  of  Egypt,  that  comparing  them  together, 
God  might  be  glorified  as  the  Alpha  and  Omega  of 
their  bliss. 

20.  And  those  twelve  stones,  which  they 
took  out  of  Jordan,  did  Joshua  pitch  in  Gil- 
gal.  21.  And  he  spake  unto  the  children 
of  Israel,  saying,  When  your  children  shall 
ask  their  fathers  in  time  to  come,  saying, 
What  mean  these  stones  ?  22.  Then  ye 
shall  let  your  children  know,  saying,  Israel 
came  over  this  Jordan  on  dry  land.  23. 
For  the  Lord  your  God  dried  up  the  wa¬ 
ters  of  Jordan  from  before  you,  until  ye 
were  passed  over,  as  the  Lord  your  God 
did  to  the  Red  Sea,  which  he  dried  up  from 
before  us,  until  we  were  gone  over :  24. 

That  all  the  people  of  the  earth  might 
know  the  hand  of  the  Lord,  that  it  is 
mighty ;  that  ye  might  fear  the  Lord  your 
God  for  ever. 

The  twelve  stones  which  were  laid  down  in  Gil- 
gal,  v.  8.  are  here  set  up  either  one  upon  another, 
yet  so  as  that  they  might  be  distinctly  counted,  or 
one  by  another  in  rows;  for  after  they  were  fixed, 
they  are  not  called  a  heap,  of  stones,  but  these  stones. 

I.  It  is  here  taken  for  granted,  that  posterity 
would  inquire  into  the  meaning  of  them,  supposing 
them  intended  for  a  memorial.  Your  children  shall 
ask  their  fathers,  (for  whom  else  should  they  ask?) 
What  mean  these  stones?  Note,  Those  that  will  be 
wise  when  they  are  old,  must  be  inquisitive  when 
they  are  voung."  Our  Lord  Jesus,  though  he  had  in 
himself  the  fulness  of  knowledge,  has  by  his  exam¬ 
ple  taught  children  and  young  people  to  hear  and 


26 


JOSHUA,  V. 


•ask  questions,  Luke  2.  46.  Perhaps  when  John 
was  baptizing  in  Jordan  at  Bethabara,  (the  house 
of  passage  where  the  people  passed  over)  he  point¬ 
ed  at  these  very  stones,  while  saying,  Matt.  3.  9, 
God  is  able  of  these  stones  (which  were  at  first  set 
up  by  the  twelve  tribes)  to  raise  ufi  children  unto 
Abraham.  The  stones  being  the  memorial  of  the 
miracles,  the  children’s  question  gave  occasion  for 
the  improvement  of  it;  but  our  Saviour  says,  Luke 
19.  40,  If  the  children  should  hold  their  fleace,  the 
s 'ones  would  immediately  cry  out;  for  one  way  or 
other  the  Lord  will  be  glorified  in  his  works  of 
wonder. 

II.  The  parents  are  here  directed  what  answer  to 
give  to  this  inquiry,  v.  22.  “  Ye  shall  let  your  chil¬ 
dren  know  that  which  you  have  yourselves  learned 
from  the  written  word,  and  from  your  fathers.” 
Note,  It  is  the  duty  of  parents  to  acquaint  their 
children  betimes  with  the  word  and  works  of  God, 
that  they  may  be  trained  up  in  the  way  they  should 
g°- 

1.  They  must  let  their  children  know  that  Jordan 
was  driven  back  before  Israel,  who  went  through  it 
ufion  dry  land,  and,  that  this  was  the  very  place 
where  they  passed  over.  They  saw  how  deep  and 
strong  a  stream  Jordan  now  was,  but  the  divine 
power  put  a  stop  to  it,  even  then  when  it  overflow¬ 
ed  all  its  banks — “  and  this  for  you,  that  live  so 
long  after.  ”  Note,  God's  mercies  to  our  ancestors 
were  mercies  to  us:  and  we  should  take  all  occa¬ 
sions  to  revive  the  remembrance  of  the  great  things 
God  did  for  our  fathers  in  the  days  of  olcl.  The 
place  thus  marked  would  be  a  memorandum  to 
them;  Israel  came  over  this  Jordan.  A  local  me¬ 
mory  would  be  of  use  to  them,  and  the  sight  of  the 
place  remind  them  of  that  which  was  done  there; 
and  not  only  the  inhabitants  of  that  country,  but 
strangers  and  travellers,  would  look  upon  ’  these 
stones  and  receive  instruction.  Many,  upon  the 
sight  of  the  stones,  would  go  to  their  bibles,  and 
there  read  the  history  of  this  wondrous  work;  and 
some,  perhaps,  upon  reading  the  history,  though 
living  at  a  distance,  would  have  the  curiosity  to  go 
and  see  the  stones. 

2.  They  must  take  that  occasion  to  tell  their  chil¬ 
dren  of  the  drving  up  of  the  Red-sea  forty  years 
before,  as  the  l^ord  your  God  did  to  the  Red  Sea. 
Note,  (1.)  It  greatly  magnifies  later  mercies  to  com¬ 
pare  them  with  former  mercies,  for,  by  making  the 
comparison,  it  appears  that  God  is  the  same  yester¬ 
day,  to-day,  and  forever.  (2. )  Later  mercies  should 
bring  to  remembrance  former  mercies,  and  revive 
cur  thankfulness  for  them. 

3.  They  must  put  them  in  the  way  of  making  a 

good  use  of  these  works  of  wonder,  the  knowledge 
whereof  was  thus  carefu’lv  transmitted  to  them,  v. 
24.  (1.)  The  power  of  God  was  hereby  mag¬ 

nified.  All  the  world  was,  or  might  be,  convinced 
that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  is  mighty,  that  nothing  is 
too  hard  for  God  to  do;  nor  can  any  power,  no,  not 
that  of  nature  itself,  obstruct  what  God  will  effect. 
The  deliverances  of  God’s  people  are  instructions  to 
all  people,  and  fair  warnings  not  to  contend  with 
Omnipotence.  (2.)  The  people  of  God  were  en¬ 
gaged  and  encouraged  to  persevere  in  his  service; 
“  That,  ye  might  fear  the  I  .or  cl  your  God,  and  con¬ 
sequently  do  your  duty  to  him,  and  this  for  ever;” 
or  all  days,  (Margin.)  “Every  day,  all  the 
days  cf  your  lives,  and  your  seed  throughout  your 
generations.”  The  remembrance  of  this  wonder- { 
ful  work  should  effectually  restrain  them  from  the 
worship  of  other  gods,  and  constrain  them  to  abide 
and  abound  in  the  service  of  their  own  God.  Note, 
In  all  the  instructions  and  informations  parents  give 
their  children,  they  should  have  chiefly  in  their  eye 
to  teach  and  engage  them  to  fear  God  for  ever.  Se¬ 
rious  godliness  is  the  best  learning. 


CHAP.  V. 

Israel  is  now  got  over  Jordan,  and  the  waters  which  had 
opened  before  them  to  favour  their  inarch  forward,  are 
closed  again  behind  them  to  foibid  their  retreat  back¬ 
ward  ;  they  have  now  got  footing  in  Canaan,  and  must 
apply  themselves  to  the  conquest  of  it ;  in  order  to  which 
this  chapter  tells  us,  I.  How  their  enemies  were  dispirit¬ 
ed,  v.  1.  II.  What  was  done  at  their  first  landing  to  as¬ 
sist  and  encourage  them.  1.  The  covenant  of  circumci¬ 
sion  was  renewed,  v.  2.  .9.  2.  The  fe'ast  of  the  passover 

was  celebrated,  v.  10.  3.  Their  camp  was  victualled 

with  the  corn  of  the  land,  whereupon  the  manna  ceased, 
v.  11,  12.  4.  The  Captain  of  the  Lord’s  host  himself  ap¬ 

peared  to  Joshua,  to  animate  and  direct  him,  v.  13.  .15. 

1.  A  ND  it  came  to  pass,  when  all  the 
f\.  kings  of  the  Amorites,  which  were 
on  the  side  of  Jordan  westward,  and  all 
the  kings  of  the  Canaanites,  which  were  by 
the  sea,  heard  that  the  Lord  had  dried  up 
the  waters  of  Jordan  from  before  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel,  until  we  were  passed  over, 
that  their  heart  melted,  neither  was  there 
spirit  in  them  any  more,  because  of  the 
children  of  Israel.  2.  At  that  time  the 
Lord  said  unto  Joshua,  Make  thee  sharp 
knives,  and  circumcise  again  the  children 
of  Israel  the  second  time.  3.  And  Joshua 
made  him  sharp  knives,  and  circumcised 
the  children  of  Israel  at  the  hill  of  the  fore¬ 
skins.  4.  And  this  is  the  cause  why  Joshua 
did  circumcise :  all  the  people  that  came 
out  of  Egypt,  that  were  males,  even  all  the 
men  of  war,  died  in  the  wilderness  by  the 
way,  after  they  came  out  of  Egypt.  5. 
Now  all  the  people  that  came  out  were  cir¬ 
cumcised  :  but  all  the  people  that  were  born 
in  the  wilderness  by  the  way  as  they  came 
forth  out  of  Egypt,  them  they  had  not  cir¬ 
cumcised.  6.  For  the  children  of  Israel 
walked  forty  years  in  the  wilderness,  till  all 
the  people  that  were  men  of  war,  which 
came  out  of  Egypt,  were  consumed,  be¬ 
cause  they  obeyed  not  the  voice  of  the 
Lord:  unto  whom  the  Lord  sware  that 
he  would  not  show  them  the  land  which 
the  Lord  sware  unto  their  fathers  that  he 
would  give  us,  a  land  that  flowethwith  milk 
and  honey.  7.  And  their  children,  whom 
he  raised  up  in  their  stead,  them  Joshua  cir¬ 
cumcised  :  for  they  were  uncircumcised, 
because  they  had  not  circumcised  them  by 
the  way.  8.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when 
they  had  done  circumcising  all  the  people, 
that  they  abode  in  their  places  in  the  camp 
till  they  were  whole.  9.  And  the  Lord 
said  unto  Joshua,  This  day  have  I  rolled 
away  the  reproach  of  Egypt  from  off  3011. 
Wherefore  the  name  of  the  place  is  called 
Gilgal  unto  this  day. 

A  vast  show,  no  doubt,  the  numerous  camp  ofls- 
rael  made  in  the  plains  of  Jericho,  where  now  thev 
had  pitched  their  tents;  Who  can  count  the  dust  of 
Jacob?  That  which  had  lcngbeen  the  church  m  the 


JOSHUA.  V. 


27 


•wilderness,  is  now  come  up.  from  the  wilderness, 
leaning  upon  her  Beloved,  and  looks  forth  as  the 
morning,  fair  as  the  moon,  clear  as  the  sun,  and  ter¬ 
rible  as  an  army  with  banners:  how  terrible  she 
was  in  the  eyes  of  her  enemies,  we  are  here  told, 
v.  1.  how  fair  and  clear  she  was  made  in  the  eyes  of 
her  friends,  by  the  rolling  away  of  the  reproach  of 
Egypt,  we  are  told  in  the  following  verses. 

I.  Here  is  the  fright  which  the  Canaanites  were 
put  into  by  their  miraculous  passing  over  Jordan,  v. 
1.  The  news  of  it  was  soon  dispersed  all  the  coun¬ 
try  over,  not  only  as  a  prodigy  in  itself,  but  as  an 
alarm  to  all  the  kings  and  kingdoms  of  Canaan. 
Now,  as  when  Babylon  was  taken,  One  post  runs 
to  meet,  another,  arid  one  messenger  to  meet  another, 
to  carry  the  amazing  tidings  to  every  corner  of  their 
land,  Jer.  51.  31.  And  here  we  are  told  what  im¬ 
pressions  the  tidings  made  upon  the  kings  of  this 
land,  their  heart  melted  like  wax  before  the  fire, 
neither  was  there  spirit  in  them  any  more.  This  in¬ 
timates  that  though  the  heart  of  the  people  gene¬ 
rally  had  fainted  before,  as  Rahab  owned,  ch.  2.  9. 
yet  the  kings  had  till  now  kept  up  their  spirits 
pretty  well,  had  promised  themselves  that,  being  in 
possession,  their  country  populous,  and  their  cities 
fortified,  they  should  be  able  to  make  their  part 
good  against  the  invaders;  but  when  they  heard,  not 
only  that  they  were  come  over  Jordan,  and  that  that 
defence  of  their  country  was  broken  through,  but 
that  they  were  come  over  by  a  miracle,  the  God  of 
nature  manifestly  fighting  for  them,  their  hearts 
failed  them  too,  they  gave  up  the  cause  for  gone, 
and  were  now  at  their  wits’  end.  And,  1.  They  had 
reason  enough  to  be  afraid;  Israel  itself  was  a  for¬ 
midable  body,  and  much  more  so  when  God  was  its 
head,  a  God  of  almighty  power.  What  can  make 
he  ;d  against  them,  if  Jordan  be  driven  back  before 
them?  2.  God  impressed  these  fears  upon  them, 
and  dispirited  them,  as  he  had  promised,  Exod. 
23.  2 7,  I  will  send  my  fear  before  thee.  God  can 
make  the  wicked  to  fear  where  no  fear  is,  Ps.  53. 
5.  much  more  where  there  is  such  cause  for  fear  as 
was  here.  He  that  made  the  soul,  can,  when  he 

leases,  make  his  sword  thus  to  approach  to  it  and 
ill  it  with  h's  terrors. 

II.  The  opportunity  which  this  gave  to  the  Is¬ 
raelites  to  circumcise  those  among  them  that  were 
uncircumcised,  At  that  time,  {y.  2.)  when  the  coun¬ 
try  about  them  was  in  that  great  consternation,  God 
ordered  Joshua  to  circumcise  the  children  of  Israel, 
for  at  that  time  it  might  be  done  with  safety  even 
in  an  enemy’s  country;  their  hearts  being  melted, 
their  hands  were  tied,  that  they  could  not  take  this 
advantage  against  them  as  Simeon  and  Levi  did 
against  the  Shechemites,  to  come  upon  them  when 
they  were  sore.  Joshua  could  not  be  sure  of  this, 
and  therefore  if  he  had  ordered  this  general  cir¬ 
cumcision  just  at  this  time  of  his  own  head,  he  might 
justly  have  been  censured  as  imprudent,  for  how 
good  soever  the  thing  was  in  itself,  in  the  eye  of 
reason  it  was  not  seasonable  at  this  time,  and  might 
have  been  of  dangerous  consequence;  but  when  God 
commanded  him  to  do  it,  he  must  not  consult  with 
flesh  and  blood:  he  that  bid  them  do  it,  no  doubt, 
would  protect  them  and  bear  them  out  in  it.  Now 
observe, 

1.  The  occasion  there  was  for  this  general  cir¬ 
cumcision.  (1.)  All  that  came  out  of  Egypt  were 
circumcised,  v.  5.  While  they  had  peace  in  Egypt, 
doubtless,  they  circumcised  their  children  the 
eighth  day,  according  to  the  law.  But  after  they 
began  to  be  oppressed,  especially  when  the  edict 
was  made  for  the  destruction  of  their  male  infants, 
(he  administration  of  this  ordinance  was  interrupted; 
many  of  them  were  uncircumcised,  of  whom  there 
was  a  general  circumcision,  either  during  the  time 
of  the  three  days’  darkness,  as  Dr.  Lightfoot  con¬ 


jectures,  or  a  year  after,  just  before  their  eating  a 
second  passover  at  mount  S.nai,  and  in  order  to  that 
solemnity,  Numb.  9.  2.  as  many  tjiink.  And  it  is 
with  reference  to  that  general  circumcision,  that 
this  here  is  called  a  second;  v.  2.  Bat  the  learned 
Masius  thinks  it  refers  to  the  general  circumcision 
of  Abraham’s  Family,  when  th  t  ordinance  was  first 
instituted,  Gen.  17.  23.  That  first  confirmed  the 
promise  of  the  land  of  Canaan,  this  second  was  a 
thankful  celebration  of  the  performance  of  that  pro¬ 
mise.  But,  (2.)  Ail  that  were  bom  in  the  wilder¬ 
ness,  namely,  after  their  walking  in  the  wildei  ness, 
became  by  the  divine  sentence  a  judgment  upon 
them  for  their  disobedience,  as  is  intimated  by  that 
repetition  of  the  sentence,  v.  6.  all  that  were  born 
since  that  fatal  d  iy,  on  which  God  swore  in  his 
wrath  that  none  of  that  generation  should  enter  mto 
his  rest,  were  uncircumcised. 

But  what  shall  we  say  to  this?  Had  not  God  en¬ 
joined  it  to  Abraham  under  a  very  severe  penalty, 
that  every  man-child  of  his  seed  should  be  circum¬ 
cised,  on  the  eighth  day?  Gen.  17.  9* -14.  Was  it 
not  the  seal  of  the  everlasting  covenant?  Was  not 
so  great  a  stress  laid  upon  it  then  when  they  were 
coming  out  of  Egypt,  that  when  immediately  after 
the  first  passover  the  law  concerning  that  feast  was 
made  perpetual,  this  was  one  clause  of  it,  that  no 
uncircumcised  person  should  eat  of  it,  but  should  be 
deemed  as  a  stranger?  And  yet  under  the  gm  em¬ 
inent  of  Moses  himself,  to  have  all  their  children 
that  were  born  for  thirty-eight  years  together  left 
uncircumcised,  is  unaccountable.  So  great  an  omis¬ 
sion  could  not  be  generally  but  by  divine  direction. 

Now,  [1.]  Some  think  circumcision  was  omitted 
because  it  was  needless:  it  was  appointed  to  be  a 
mark  of  distinction  between  the  Israelites  and  other 
nations,  and  therefore,  in  the  wilderness,  where 
they  were  so  perfectly  separated  from  all,  and  min¬ 
gled  With  none,  there  was  no  occasion  for  it.  [2.] 
Others  think  that  they  did  not  look  upon  the  precept 
of  circumcision  as  obligatory  till  they  came  to  settle 
in  Canaan,  for  in  the  covenant  made  with  them  at 
mount  Sinai,  nothing  was  said  about  circumcision, 
neither  was  it  of  Moses  but  of  the  fathers,  John  7. 
22.  and  with  particular  reference  to  the  grant  of 
the  land  of  Canaan,  Gen.  17.  8.  [3.]  Others  think 

that  God  favourably  dispensed  with  the  omission  of 
this  ordinance  in  consideration  of  the  unsettledness 
of  their  state,  and  their  frequent  removes  while  they 
were  in  the  wilderness.  It  was  requisite  that  chil¬ 
dren  after  they  were  circumcised,  should  rest  for 
some  time  while  they  were  sore,  and  stirring  them 
might  be  dangerous  to  them;  God  therefore  would 
have  mercy  and  not  sacrifice.  This  reason  is  general¬ 
ly  acquiesced  in,  but  to  me  it  is  not  satisfactory,  fer 
sometimes  they  stayed  a  year  in  a  place,  Numb.  9. 
22.  if  not  much  longer;  and  in  their  removes  the  lit¬ 
tle  children,  though  sore,  might  be  wrapt  so  warm, 
and  carried  so  easy,  as  to  receive  no  damage,  and 
might  certainly  be  much  better  accommodated  than 
the  mothers  in  travail  or  while  lying-in.  Therefore, 
[4.1  To  me  it  seems  to  have  been  a  continued  token 
of  God’s  displeasure  against  them  for  their  unbelief 
and  murmuring.  Circumcision  was  originally  a 
seal  of  the  promise  of  the  land  of  Canaan,  as  we  ob¬ 
served  before.  It  was  in  the  believing  hope  of  that 
good  land,  that  the  patriarchs  circumcised  their 
children:  but  when  God  had  sworn  in  his  wrath 
concerning  the  men  of  war  which  came  out  of 
Egypt,  that  they  should  be  consumed  in  the  wilder¬ 
ness,  and  never  enter  Canaan,  nor  come  within 
sight  of  it,  (as  that  sentence  is  here  repeated,  v.  6. 
reference  being  made  to  it,)  as  a  further  ratification 
of  that  sentence,  and  to  be  a  constant  memorandum 
of  -it  to  them,  all  that  fell  under  that  sentence,  and 
were  to  fall  by  it,  were  forbidden  to  circumcise  their 
children;  by  which  they  were  plainly  told,  that 


28 


JOSHUA,  V. 


whatever  others  might,  they  should  never  have  the 
benefit  of  that  promise  which  circumcision  was  the 
seal  of.  And  this  was  such  a  significant  indication 
of  God’s  wrath,  as  the  breaking  of  the  tables  of  the 
covenant  was,  when  Israel  had  broken  the  covenant 
by  making  the  golden  calf.  It  is  true,  there  is  no 
express  mention  of  this  judicial  prohibition  in  the 
account  of  that  sentence;  but  an  intimation  of  it, 
Numb.  14.  33,  Your  children  shall  bear  your 
whoredoms.  It  is  probable,  the  children  of  Caleb 
and  Joshua  were  circumcised,  for  they  were  ex¬ 
cepted  out  of  that  sentence,  and  of  Caleb  it  is  par¬ 
ticularly  said,  To  him  will  I  give  the  land,  and 
to  his  children,  Deut.  1.  36.  which  was  the  very 
promise  that  circumcision  was  the  seal  of:  and  Josh¬ 
ua  is  here  bid  to  circumcise  the  people,  not  his  own 
family.  Whatever  the  reason  was,  it  seems  that 
this  great  ordinance  was  omitted  in  Israel  for  almost 
forty  years  together,  which  is  a  plain  indication  that 
it  was  not  of  absolute  necessity,  nor  was  to  be  of 
perpetual  obligation,  but  should  in  the  fulness  of 
time  be  abolished,  as  now  it  was  for  so  long  a  time 
suspended. 

2.  The  orders  given  to  Joshua  for  this  general 
circumcision,  ~v.  2,  Circumcise  again  the  children  of 
Israel,  not  the  same  persons,  but  the  body  of  the 
people.  Why  was  this  ordered  to  be  done  now? 
Answ.  (1.)  Because  now  the  promise  which  cir¬ 
cumcision  was  instituted  to  be  the  seal  of,  was  per¬ 
formed.  The  seed  of  Israel  was  brought  safe  into 
the  land  of  Canaan,  “  Let  them  therefore  hereby 
own  the  truth  of  that  promise  which  their  fathers 
had  disbelieved,  and  could  not  find  in  their  hearts 
to  trust  to.”  (2.)  Because  now  the  threatening 
which  the  suspending  of  circumcision  for  thirty- 
eight  years  was  the  ratification  of,  was  fully  exe¬ 
cuted  by  the  expiring  of  the  forty  years.  That 
warfare  is  accomplished,  that  iniquity  is  pardoned, 
(Isa.  40.  2.)  and  therefore  now  the  seal  of  the  cove¬ 
nant  is  revived  again.  But  why  was  it  not  done 
sooner — why  not  while  they  were  resting  some 
months  in  the  plains  of  Moab — why  not  during  the 
thirty  days  of  their  mourning  for  Moses — why  was 
it  net  deferyed  longer  till  they  had  made  some  pro¬ 
gress  in  the  conquest  of  Canaan,  and  had  gained  a 
settlement  there,  at  least  till  they  had  intrenched 
themselves,  and  fortified  their  camp — why  must  it 
be  done  the  very  next  day  after  they  were  come 
over  Jordan?  Answ.  Because  divine  wisdom  saw 
that  to  be  the  fittest  time,  just  when  the  forty  years 
were  ended,  and  they  had  entered  Canaan;  and  the 
reasons  which  human  wisdom  would  have  offered 
against  it,  were  easily  over-ruled.  [1.]  God  would 
hereby  show  that  the  camp  of  Israel  was  not  gov¬ 
erned  by  the  ordinary  rules  and  measures  of  war, 
but  by  immediate  direction  from  God,  who,  by  thus 
exposing  them,  in  the  most  dangerous  moments, 
magnified  his  own  power  in  protecting  them,  even 
then.  And  this  great  instance  of  security,  in  disa¬ 
bling  themselves  for  action  just  then  when  they 
were  entering  upon  action,  proclaimed  such  confi¬ 
dence  in  the  divine  care  for  their  safety  as  would 
increase  their  enemies’  fears:  much  more  when 
their  scouts  informed  them  not  only  of  the  thing 
itself  that  was  done,  but  of  the  meaning  of  it;  that 
it  was  a  seal  of  the  grant  of  this  land  of  Israel.  [2.] 
God  would  hereby  animate  his  people  Israel  against 
the  difficulties  they  were  now  to  encounter,  by  con¬ 
firming  his  covenant  with  them,  which  gave  them 
unquestionable  assurance  of  victory  and  success,  and 
the  full  possession  of  the  land  of  promise.  [3.]  God 
would  hereby  teach  them,  and  us  with  them,  in  all 
great  undertakings  to  begin  with  God,  to  make  sure 
of  his  favour,  by  offering  ourselves  to  him  a  living 
sacrifice,  (for  that  was  signified  by  the  blood  of  cir¬ 
cumcision,)  and  then  we  may  expect  to  prosper  in 
all  we  do.  [4.]  The  reviving  of  circumcision,  after 


it  had  been  so  long  disused,  was  designed  to  revive 
the  observation  of  other  institutions,  the  omission  of 
which  had  been  connived  at  in  the  wilderness. 
This  command  to  circumcise  them  was  to  remind 
them  of  that  which  Moses  had  told  them,  Deut.  12. 
8.  that  when  they  were  come  over  Jordan  they 
must  not  do  as  they  had  done  in  the  wilderness, 
but  must  come  under  a  stricter  discipline.  It  was 
said  concerning  many  of  the  laws  God  had  given 
them,  that  they  must  observe  them  in  the  land  to 
which  they  were  going,  Deut.  6.  1..12.  1.  [5.]  This 
second  circumcision,  as  it  is  here  called,  was  typical 
of  the  spiritual  circumcision  with  which  the  Israel 
of  God,  when  they  enter  into  the  gospel-rest,  are 
circumcised;  it  is  the  learned  Bishop  Pierson’s  ob¬ 
servation,  That  this  circumcision  being  performed 
under  the  conduct  of  Joshua,  Moses’s  successor,  it 
points  to  Jesus  as  the  true  Circumciser,  the  Author 
of  another  circumcision  than  that  of  the  flesh,  com¬ 
manded  by  the  law,  even  the  circumcision  of  the 
heart,  Rom.  2.  29.  called  the  circumcision  of  Christ , 
Col.  2.  11. 

3.  The  people’s  obedience  to  these  orders.  Joshua 
circumcised  the  children  of  Israel,  v.  3.  not  himself 
with  his  own  hands,  but  he  commanded  that  it 
should  be  done,  and  took  care  that  it  was  done:  it 
might  soon  be  despatched,  for  it  was  not  necessary 
that  it  should  be  done  by  a  priest  or  Levite,  but  any 
one  might  be  employed  to  do  it.  All  those  that 
were  under  twenty  years  old  when  the  people  were 
numbered  at  mount  Sinai,  and  not  being  numbered 
with  them,  fell  not  by  the  fatal  sentence,  were  cir¬ 
cumcised,  and  by  them  all  the  rest  might  be  cir¬ 
cumcised  in  a  little  time.  The  people  had  promised 
to  hearken  to  Joshua,  as  they  had  hearkened  to 
Moses,  ch.  1.  17.  and  here  they  gave  an  instance  of 
their  dutifulness,  submitting  to  this  painful  institu¬ 
tion,  and  not  calling  him  for  the  sake  of  it  a  bloody 
governor,  as  Z.ipporah  because  of  the  circumcision 
called  Moses  a  bloody  husband. 

Lastly,  The  names  given  to  the  place  where  this 
was  done,  to  perpetuate  the  memory  of  it.  (1.)  It 
was  called  the  hill  of  the  foreskins,  v.  3.  Probably, 
the  foreskins  that  were  cut  off,  were  laid  on  a  heap, 
and  covered  with  earth,  so  that  they  made  a  little 
hillock.  (2.)  It  was  called  Gilgal,  from  a  word 
which  signifies  to  take  away,  from  that  which  God 
said  to  Joshua,  v.  2,  This  day  have  I  rolled  away 
the  reproach  of  Egypt.  God  is  jealous  for  the  ho¬ 
nour  of  his  people,  his  own  honour  being  so  much 
interested  in  it;  and  whatever  reproach  they  may 
lie  under  for  a  time,  first  or  last  it  will  certainly  be' 
rolled  away,  and  every  tongue  that  riseth  up  against 
them,  he  will  condemn.  [1.]  Their  circumcision 
rolled  away  the  reproach  of  Egypt.  They  were 
hereby  owned  to  be  the  free-born  children  of  God, 
having  the  seal  of  the  covenant  in  their  flesh,  and  so 
the  reproach  of  their  bondage  in  Egypt  was  remov¬ 
ed.  They  were  tainted  with  the  idolatry  of  Egypt, 
and  that  was  their  reproach;  but  now  that  they 
were  circumcised,  it  was  to  be  hoped  they  would  be 
so  entirely  devoted  to  God,  that  the  reproach  of 
their  affection  to  Egypt  would  be  rolled  away.  [2.] 
Their  coming  safe  to  Canaan  rolled  away  the  ?  - 
proach  of  Egypt,  for  it  silenced  that  spiteful  sug¬ 
gestion  of  the  Egyptians,  that  for  mischief  they 
were  brought  out,  the  wilderness  had  shut  them  in, 
Exod.  14.  3.  Their  wandering  so  long  in  the  wil¬ 
derness  confirmed  the  reproach,  but  now  that  they 
had  entered  Canaan  in  triumph,  that  reproach  was 
done  away.  When  God  glorifies  himself  in  per¬ 
fecting  the  salvation  of  his  people,  he  not  only  sik  n- 
ces  the  reproach  of  their  enemies,  but  rolls  it  u]  <  n 
themselves. 

10.  And  the  children  of  Israel  encamped 
in  Gilgal,  and  kept  the  passover  on  the  four- 


29 


JOSHUA,  V. 


teentli  day  of  the  month,  at  even,  in  the 
plains  of  Jericho.  1 1 .  And  they  did  eat  of  the 
old  com  of  the  land,  on  the  morrow  after  the 
passover,  unleavened  cakes  and  parched 
corn  in  the  self-same  day.  12.  And  the  man¬ 
na  ceased  on  the  morrow  after  they  had 
eaten  of  the  old  corn  of  the  land ;  neither 
had  the  children  of  Israel  manna  any  more ; 
but  they  did  eat  of  the  fruit  of  the  land  of 
Canaan  that  year. 

We  may  well  imagine  that  the  people  of  Canaan 
were  astonished,  and  that  when  they  observed  the 
motions  of  the  enemy  they  could  not  but  think  them 
very  strange.  When  soldiers  take  the  field,  they 
are  apt  to  think  themselves  excused  from  religious 
exercises,  (they  have  not  time  or  thought  to  attend 
them,)  yet  Joshua  opens  the  campaign  with  one  act 
of  devotion  after  another.  What  was  afterwards 
said  to  another  Joshua,  might  truly  be  said  to  this, 
Hear  notv,  O  Joshua,  thou,  and  thy  fellows  that  sit 
before  thee,  are  men  wondered  at,  Zech.  3.  8.  and 
yet  indeed  he  took  the  right  method.  This  is  likely 
to  end  well,  that  begins  with  God. 

Here  is, 

I.  A  solemn  passover  kept,  at  the  time  appointed 
by  the  law,  the  fourteenth  day  of  the  frst  month , 
and  in  the  same  place  where  they  were  circumcised, 
v.  10.  While  they  were  wandering  in  the  wilder¬ 
ness,  they  were  denied  the  benefit  and  comfort  of 
this  ordinance,  as  a  further  token  of  God’s  displea¬ 
sure;  but  now,  in  answer  to  the  prayer  of  Moses, 
upon  the  passing  of  that  sentence,  Ps.  90.  15.  God 
comforted  them  again,  after  the  time  that  he  had 
afflicted  them,  and  therefore  now  that  joyful  ordi¬ 
nance  is  revived  again.  Now  that  they  had  entered 
into  Canaan,  it  was  very  reasonable  to  remember 
those  wondrous  works  of  divine  power  and  good¬ 
ness,  by  which  they  were  brought  out  of  Egypt. 
The  finishing  of  mercies  should  bring  to  mind  the 
beginning  of  them ;  and  when  it  is  perfect  day  we 
must  not  forget  how  welcome  the  morning  light  was, 
when  we  had  long  waited  for  it.  The  solemn  pass- 
over  followed  immediately  after  the  solemn  circum¬ 
cision;  thus,  when  they  that  received  the  word 
were  baptized,  immediately  we  find  them  breaking 
of  bread.  Acts  2.  41,  42.  They  kept  this  passover 
in  the  plains  of  Jericho,  as  it  were  in  defiance  of  the 
Canaanites  that  were  round  about  them  and  enrag¬ 
ed  against  them,  and  yet  could  not  give  them  any 
disturbance.  Thus  God  gave  them  an  early  instance 
of  the  performance  of  that  promise,  that  when  they 
went  up  to  keep  the  feasts,  their  land  should  be 
taken  under  the  special  protection  of  the  Divine 
Providence,  Exod.  34.  24,  Neither  shall  any  man 

desire  thi /  land.  He  now  prepared  a  table  before 
them  m  the  presence  of  their  enemies,  Ps.  23.  5. 

IT.  Provision  made  for  their  camp  of  the  com  of 
their  land,  and  the  ceasing  of  the  manna  thereupon, 
7'.  11,  12.  Manna  was  a  wonderful  mercy  to  them 
when  they  needed  it;  but  it  was  the  mark  of  a  wil¬ 
derness  state,  it  was  the  food  of  children,  and  there¬ 
fore,  though  it  was  angels’  food,  and  not  to  be  com¬ 
plained  of  as  light  bread,  yet  it  would  be  more  ac¬ 
ceptable  to  them  to  eat  of  the  com  of  the  land,  and 
that  they  are  now  furnished  with;  the  country  peo¬ 
ple  being  retired  for  safety  into  Jericho,  left  their 
barns  and  fields,  and  all  that  was  in  them,  which 
served  for  the  subsistence  of  this  great  army.  And 
the  supply  came  very  seasonable,  for,  1.  After  the 
passover,  they  were  to  keep  the  feast  of  unleavened 
bread,  which  they  could  not  do  according  to  the  ap¬ 
pointment,  when  they  had  nothing  but  manna  to 
live  upon;  perhaps  this  was  one  reason  why  it  was 
intermitted  in  the  wilderness.  But  now  they  found 


old  corn  enough  in  the  bam  of  the  Canaanites  to 
supply  them  plentifully  for  that  occasion;  thus  the 
wealth  of  the  sinner  is  laid  up  for  the  just,  and  little 
did  they  who  laid  it  up,  think,  whose  all  these  things 
should  be,  which  they  had  provided.  2.  On  the  mor¬ 
row  alter  thepassover-sabbath,  they  were  to  wave 
the  sheaf  of  first-fruits  before  the  Lord,  Lev.  23.  10, 
11.  And  this  they  were  particularly  ordered  to  do, 
when  they  were  come  into  the  land  which  God  would 
give  them;  and  they  were  furnished  for  this  with  the 
fruit  of  tjie  land  that  year,  v.  12.  which  was  then 
growing  and  beginning  to  be  ripe.  Thus  the>  were 
well  provided  for,  both  with  old  atid  new  corn,  as 
good  householders.  Matt.  13.  52.  And  as  soon  as 
ever  the  fruits  of  this  good  land  came  to  their 
hands,  they  had  an  opportunity  of  honouring  God 
with  them,  and  employing  them  in  his  service  ac¬ 
cording  to  his  appointment.  And  thus,  behold  all 
things  are  clean  and  comfortable  to  them.  Calvin 
is  of  opinion,  that  they  had  kept  the  passo\  er  ever)’ 
year  in  its  season  during  their  wandering  in  the 
wilderness,  though  it  is  not  mentioned,  and  that 
God  dispensed  with  their  being  uncircumcised,  as 
he  did  notwithstanding  that,  admit  them  to  offer 
other  sacrifices.  But  some  gather  from  Amos  5. 
25.  that  after  the  sentence  passed  upon  them,  there 
were  no  sacrifices  offered  till  they  came  to  Canaan, 
and  consequently  no  passover  kept.  And  it  is  ob¬ 
servable,  that  after  that  sentence,  Numb.  14.  the 
law  which  follows,  ch.  15.  concerning  sacrifices,  be¬ 
gins,  v.  2,  When  ye  shall  be  come  into  the  land  of 
your  habitations,  you  shall  do  so  and  so. 

Notice  is  taken  of  the  ceasing  of  the  manna  as 
soon  as  ever  they  had  eaten  the  old  com  of  the 
land;  (1.)  To  show  that  it  did  not  come  by  chance 
or  common  providence,  as  snow  or  hail  does,  but 
by  the  special  designation  of  divine  wisdom  and 
goodness;  for  as  it  came  just  when  they  needed  it, 
so  it  continued  as  long  as  they  had  occasion  for  it, 
and  no  longer.  (2.)  To  teach  us  not  to  expect  ex¬ 
traordinary  supplies,  when  they  may  be  had  in  an 
ordinary  way.  If  God  had  dealt  with  Israel  ac¬ 
cording  to  their  deserts,  the  manna  had  ceased  then 
when  they  called  it  light  bread;  but  as  long  as  they 
needed  it,  God  continued  it,  though  they  despised  it; 
and  now  that  they  needed  not,  God  "withdrew  it, 
though  perhaps  some  of  them  desired  it.  He  is  a 
wise  Father,  who  knows  the  necessities  of  his  chil¬ 
dren,  and  accommodates  his  gifts  to  them,  not  to 
their  humours.  The  word  and  ordinances  of  God 
are  spiritual  manna,  with  which  God  nourishes  his 
people  in  this  wilderness,  and  though  often  forfeit¬ 
ed,  yet  they  are  continued  while  we  are  here;  but 
when  we  come  to  the  heavenly  Canaan,  this  manna 
will  cease,  for  we  no  longer  have  need  of  it. 

1 3.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  Joshua 
was  by  Jericho,  that  he  lifted  up  his  eyes  and 
looked,  and  behold,  *here  stood  a  man  over 
against  him  with  his  sword  drawn  in  his 
hand  :  and  Joshua  went  unto  him,  and  said 
unto  him,  Art  thou  for  us,  or  for  our  adver¬ 
saries  ?  14.  And  he  said,  Nay;  but  as 

captain  of  the  host  of  the  Lord  am  I  now 
come.  And  Joshua  fell  on  his  face  to  the 
earth,  and  did  worship,  and  said  unto  him, 
What  saith  my  Lord  unto  his  servant? 
15.  And  the  captain  of  the  Lord  s  host 
said  unto  Joshua,  Loose  thy  shoe  from  off 
thy  foot ;  for  the  place  whereon  thou  stand- 
est  is  holy.  And  Joshua  did  so. 

We  have  hitherto  found  God  often  speak  to 
Joshua,  but  we  read  not  till  now  of  any  appearance 


30 


JOSHUA,  V. 


of  God’s  glory  to  him;  now  that  his  difficulties  in¬ 
creased,  his  encouragements  were  increased  in  pro¬ 
portion.  Observe, 

I.  The  time  when  he  was  favoured  with  this 
vision;  it  was  immediately  after  he  had  performed 
the  great  solemnities  of  circumcision,  and  the  pass- 
over;  then  God  made  himself  known  to  him.  Note, 
We  may  then  expect  the  discoveries  of  the  divine 
grace,  when  we  are  found  in  the  way  of  our  duty, 
and  are  diligent  and  sincere  in  our  attendance  on 
holy  ordinances. 

II.  Tire  place  where  he  had  this  visioh;  it  was 
by  Jericho,  in  Jericho,  so  the  word  is,  in  it  by  faith 
and  hope,  though  as  yet  he  had  not  begun  to  lay 
siege  to  it;  in  it  in  thought  and  expectation,  or  in 
the  fields  of  Jericho,  hard  by  the  city;  there,  it 
should  seem,  he  was  all  alone,  fearless  of  danger, 
because  sure  of  the  divine  protection.  There  he 
was  (some  think)  meditating  and  praying,  and  to 
those  who  are  so  employed,  God  often  graciously 
manifests  himself.  Or,  perhaps,  there  he  was  to 
take  a  view  of  the  city,  to  observe  its  fortifications, 
and  contrive  how  to  attack  it,  and  perhaps  he  was 
at  a  loss  within  himself  how  to  make  his  approach¬ 
es,  when  God  came  and  directed  him.  Note,  God 
will  help,  those  that  help  themselves;  Vigilantibus 
non  dormientibus  succurrit  lex — The  law  succours 
those  who  watch,  not.  those  who  sleep.  Joshua  was 
in  his  post,  as  a  General,  when  God  came  and 
made  himself  known  to  him  as  Generalissimo. 

III.  The  appearance  itself  ;  Joshua,  as  is  usual 

with  those  that  are  full  of  thought  and  care,  was 
looking  downward,  his  eyes  fixed  on  the  ground, 
when  of  a  sudden  he  was  surprised  with  the  ap¬ 
pearance  of  a  man  who  stood  before  him  at  some 
little  distance,  which  obliged  him  to  lift  up  his  eyes, 
and  gave  a  diversion  to  his  musings,  v.  13.  he  ap¬ 
peared  unto  him  as  a  man,  but  a  considerable  man, 
and  one  fit  to  be  taken  notice  of.  Now,  1.  We  have 
reason  to  think  that  this  man  was  the  Son  of  God, 
the  eternal  Word,  who  before  he  assumed  the  hu¬ 
man  nature  for  a  perpetuity,  frequently  appeared 
in  a  human  shape.  So  Bishop  Patrick  thinks,  con¬ 
sonant  to  the  judgment  of  the  Fathers.  Joshua 
gave  him  divine  honours,  and  he  received  them, 
which  a  created  angel  would  not  have  done,  and  he 
is  called  Jehovah,  ch.  6.  2.  2.  He  here  appeared 

as  a  soldier,  with  his-  sword  drawn  in  his  hand.  To 
Abraham  in  his  tent,  he  appeared  as  a  traveller;  to 
Joshua  in  the  field  as  a  man  of  war:  Christ  will  be 
to  his  people  what  their  faith  expects  and  desires. 
Christ  had  his  sword  drawn,  which  served,  (1.) 
To  justify  the  war  Joshua  was  engaging  in,  and  to 
show  him  that  it  was  of  God,  who  gave  him  com¬ 
mission  to  kill  and  slay.  If  the  sovereign  draw  the 
sword,  that  proclaims  war,  and  authorises  the  sub¬ 
ject  to  do  so  too.  The  sword  is  then  well  drawn 
when  Christ  draws  it,  and  gives  the  banner  to  them 
that  fear  him,  to  be  displayed  because  of  the  truth, 
Ps.  60.  4.  (2.)  To  encourage  him  to  carry  it  on 

with  vigour;  for  Christ’s  sword  drawn  in  his  hand 
denotes  how  ready  he  is  for  the  defence  and  salva¬ 
tion  of  his  people,  who  through  him  shall  do  va¬ 
liantly.  His  sword  turns  every  way. 

IV.  The  bold  question  with  which  Joshua  ac¬ 
costed  him;  he  did  not  send  a  servant,  but  stept  up 
to  him  himself,  and  asked,  Art  thou  for  us,  or  for 
our  adversaries?  Which  intimates  his  readiness  to 
entertain  him  if  he  were  for  them,  and  to  fight  him 
if  he  were  against  them.  This  speaks,  1.  His  great 
courage  and  resolution.  He  was  not  ruffled  by  the 
suddenness  of  the  appearance,  nor  daunted  with 
the  majesty  and  bravery,  which  no  doubt  appeared 
in  the  countenance  of  the  person  he  saw;  but,  with 
a  presence  of  mind  that  became  so  great  a  General, 
put  this  fair  question  to  him.  God  had  bid  Joshua 
be  courageous,  and  by  this  it  appears  that  he  was 


so;  for  what  God  by  his  word  requires  of  his  peo 
pie,  he  does  by  his  grace  work  in  them.  2.  His 
great  concern  for  the  people  and  their  cause;  so 
heartily  has  he  embarked  in  the  interests  of  Israel, 
that  none  shall  stand  by  him  with  the  face  of  a  man, 
but  he  will  know  whether  he  be  a  friend  or  a  fee. 
It  should  seem,  he  suspected  him  for  an  enemy,  a 
Goliath  that  was  come  to  destroy  the  armies  of  the 
living  God,  and  to  give  him  a  challenge.  Thus 
apt  are  we  to  look  upon  that  as  against  us,  which  is 
most  for  us.  The  question  plainly  implies,  that 
the  cause  between  the  Israelites  and  Canaanites, 
between  Christ  and  Beelzebub,  will  not  admit  of 
a  neutrality.  He  that  is  not  with  us,  is  against  us. 

V.  The  account  he  gave  of  himself,  v.  14. 
“Nay,  not  for  your  adversaries,  you  may  be 
sure,  but  as  Captain  of  the  host  of  the  Lord  am  1 
now  come,  not  only  for  you  as  a  friend,  but  over 
you,  as  commander  in  chief.”  Here  were  now,  as 
of  old,  Gen.  32.  2,  Mahanaim,  two  hosts,  a  host  of 
Israelites  ready  to  engage  the  Canaanites,  and  a  host 
of  angels  to  protect  them  therein,  and  he,  as  Captain 
of  both,  conducts  the  host  of  Israel,  and  commands 
the  host  of  angels  to  their  assistance.  Perhaps  in 
allusion  to  this,  Christ  is  called  the  Captain  of  our 
salvatioti,  Heb.  2.  10.  and  a  Leader  and  Com¬ 
mander  to  the  people,  Isa.  55.  4.  They  cannot  but 
be  victorious,  that  have  such  a  Captain.  He  now 
came  as  Captain  to  review  the  troops,  to  animate 
them,  and  to  give  the  necessary  oi’ders  for  the  be¬ 
sieging  of  Jericho. 

VI.  The  great  respect  Joshua  paid  him  when  he 
understood  who  he  was;  it  is  probable  that  he  per¬ 
ceived  not  only  by  what  he  said,  but  by  some  other 
sensible  indications,  that  he  was  a  divine  person, 
and  not  a  man. 

1.  Joshua  paid  homage  to  him.  He  fell  on  his 
face  to  the  earth  and  did  worship.  Joshua  was  him¬ 
self  General  of  the  forces  of  Israel,  and  yet  he  wrs 
far  from  looking  with  jealousy  upon  this  stranger, 
who  produced  a  commission  as  Captain  of  the 
Lord’s  host  above  him;  he  did  not  offer  to  dispute 
his  claims,  but  cheerfully  submitted  to  him  as  his 
commander.  It  well  becomes  the  greatest  men  to 
be  humble  and  reverent  in  their  addresses  to  God. 

2.  He  begged  to  receive  commands  and  direc¬ 

tions  from  him,  What  saith  my  Lord  unto  his  ser¬ 
vant?  His  former  question  was  not  more  bold  and 
soldier-like,  than  this  was  pious  and  saint-like;  nor 
was  it  any  disparagement  to  the  greatness  of  Josh¬ 
ua’s  spirit,  thus  to  humble  himself  when  he  had 
to  do  with  God:  even  crowned  heads  cannot  bow 
too  low  before  the  throne  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  who  is 
King  of  kings,  Ps.  2.  10,  11. — 72.  10,  11.  Rev.  19. 
16.  Observe,  (1.)  The  relation  he  owns  between 
himself  and  Christ;  that  Christ  was  his  Lord,  and 
himself  his  servant  and  under  his  command,  Christ 
his  Captain,  and  himself  a  soldier  under  him,  to  do 
as  he  is  bidden,  Matt.  8.  9.  Note,  The  foundation 
of  all  acceptable  obedience  is  laid  in  a  sincere  dedi¬ 
cation  of  ourselves,  as  servants  to  Jesus  Christ  as 
our  Lord,  Ps.  16.2.  (2.)  The  inquiry  he  makes 

pursuant  to  this  relation,  What  saith  my  Lord? 
Which  implies  an  earnest  desire  to  know  the  will 
of  Christ,  and  a  cheerful  readiness  and  resolution 
to  do  it.  Joshua  owns  himself  an  inferior  officer, 
and  stands  to  receive  orders;  this  temper  of  mind 
shows  him  fit  for  the  post  he  was  in,  for  those 
know  best  how  to  command,  that  know  how  to 
obey. 

VII.  The  further  expressions  of  reverence 
which  this  divine  Captain  required  from  Joshua, 
v.  15,  I^oose  thy  shoe  from  off  thy  foot,  in  token  ot 
reverence  and  respect,  which  with  us  are  signified 
by  uncovering  the  head;  and  as  an  acknowledge 
mentof  a  divine  presence,  which,  while  it  continued 
there,  did  in  a  manner  sanctify  the  place  and  dig 


31 


JOSHUA,  VI. 


nify  it.  We  often  say  of  a  person  whom  we  have  a 
great  affection  for,  that  we  love  the  very  ground  he 
goes  upon;  thus  Joshua  must  show  his  reverence 
for  this  divine  person,  he  must  not  tread  the  ground 
he  stood  on  with  his  shoes  on,  Eccl.  5.  1.  Outward 
expressions  of  inward  reverence,  and  a  religious 
awe  of  God,  well  become  us,  and  are  required  of 
us,  whenever  we  approach  to  him  in  solemn  ordi¬ 
nances.  Bishop  Patrick  well  observes  here,  that  the 
very  same  orders  that  God  gave  to  Moses  at  the  bush, 
when  he  was  sending  him  to  bring  Israel  out  of 
Egvpt,  Exod.  3.  5.  he  here  gives  to  Joshua,  for  the 
confirming  of  his  faith  in  the  promise  he  had  lately 
given  him,  that  as  he  had  been  with  Moses,  so  he 
would  be  with  him,  ch.  1.  5.  Had  Mo£es  such  a 
presence  of  God  with  him,  as,  when  it  became  sen¬ 
sible,  sanctified  the  ground?  So  had  Joshua. 

And  ( lastly  )  Hereby  he  prepares  him  to  receive 
the  instructions  he  was  about  to  give  him,  concern¬ 
ing  the  siege  of  Jericho,  which  this  captain  of  the 
Lord’s  host  was  now  come  to  give  Israel  posses¬ 
sion  of. 

CHAP.  VI. 

Joshua  opened  the  campaign  with  the  siege  of  Jericho,  a 
city  which  could  not  trust  so  much  to  the  courage  of  its 
people,  as  to  act  offensively  and  to  send  out.  its  forces  to 
oppose  Israel’s  landing  and  encamping,  but  trusted  so 
much  to  the  strength  of  its  walls,  as  to  stand  upon  its 
defence,  and  not  to  surrender,  or  desire  conditions  of 
peace.  Now  here  we  have  the  story  of  the  taking  of  it. 
I.  The  directions  and  assurances  which  the  Captain  of 
the  Lord’s  host  gave  concerning  it,  v.  1  .  .  5.  II.  The 
trial  of  the  people’s  patient  obedience  in  walking  round 
the  city  six  days,  v.  6  .  .  14.  III.  The  wonderful  delivery 
of  it  into  their  hands  the  seventh  day,  with  a  solemn 
charge  to  them  to  use  it  as  a  devoted  thing,  v.  15.. 21. 
and  v.  24.  IV.  The  preservation  of  Rahab  and  her  rela¬ 
tions,  v.  22,  23,  25.  V.  A  curse  pronounced  upon  the  man 
that  should  dare  to  rebuild  this  city,  w  26,  27.  An  ab¬ 
stract  of  this  story  we  find  among  the  trophies  of  faith, 
Heb.  11.  30,  By  faith  the  walls  of  Jericho  fell  down,  af¬ 
ter  they  were  compassed  about  seven  days. 

1.  1%TQW  Jericho  was  straitly  shut  up, 
11  because  of  the  children  of  Israel  : 
none  went  out,  and  none  came  in.  2.  And 
the  Lord  said  unto  Joshua,  See,  I  have 
given  into  thine  hand  Jericho,  and  the  king 
thereof,  and  the  mighty  men  of  valour.  3. 
And  ye  shall  compass  the  city,  all  ye  men 
of  war,  and  go  round  about  the  city  once. 
Thus  shalt  thou  do  six  days.  4.  And  se¬ 
ven  priests  shall  bear  before  the  ark  seven 
trumpets  of  rams’  horns  :  and  the  seventh 
day  ye  shall  compass  the  city  seven  times, 
and  the.  priests  shall  blow  with  the  trum¬ 
pets.  5.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  that 
when  they  make  a  long  blast  with  the  rams’ 
horns,  and  when  ye  hear  the  sound  of  the 
trumpet,  all  the  people  shall  shout  with  a 
great  shout ;  and  the  wall  of  the  city  shall 
fall  down  flat,  and  the  people  shall  ascend 
up,  every  man  straight  before  him. 

We  have  here  a  contest  between  God  and  the 
men  of  Jericho,  and  their  different  resolutions,  upon 
which  it  is  easy  to  say  whose  word  shall  prevail. 

I.  Jericho  resolves  Israel  shall  not  be  its  master, 
v.  1.  It  was  straitly  shut  up,  because  of  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  it  dia  shut  tip,  and  it  was  shut  up. 
So  it  is  in  the  margin,  it  did  shut  up  itself,  being 
strongly  fortified  both  by  art  and  nature,  and  it  was 
shut  up,  by  the  obstinacy  and  resolution  of  the  in¬ 


habitants,  who  agreed  never  to  surrender  or  so 
much  as  sound  a  parley;  none  went  out  as  deserters 
or  to  treat  of  peace,  nor  were  any  admitted  in  to 
offer  peace.  Thus  were  they  infatuated,  and  their 
hearts  hardened  to  their  own  destruction — the  mise- 
■  rable  case  and  character  of  all  those  that  strengthen 
themselves  against  the  Almighty,  Job  15.  25. 

II.  God  resolves  Israel  shall  be  its  master,  and 
that  quickly.  The  captain  of  the  Lord’s  host,  here 
called  Jehovah,  taking  notice  how  strongly  Jericho 
was  fortified,  and  how  strictly  guarded,  and  know¬ 
ing  Joshua’s  thoughts  and  cares  about  reducing  it, 

I  and  perhaps  his  fears  of  a  disgrace  there,  and  of 
stumbling  at  the  threshold,  gave  him  here  all  the 
assurance  he  could  desire  of  success,  v.  2,  See,  I 
have  given  into  thine  hand  Jericho.  Not,  “J  will 
do  it,  but  I  have  done  it;  it  is  all  thine  own,  as  sure 
as  if  it  were  already  in  thy  possession.”  It  was  de- 
!  signed  that  this  city,  being  the  first-fruits  of  Canaan, 

!  should  be  entirely  devoted  to  God,  and  that  neither 
Joshua  nor  Israel  should  ever  be  one  mite  the  richer 
for  it,  and  yet  it  is  here  said  to  be  give?i  into  their 
hand,  for  we  must  reckon  that  most  our  own, 
which  we  have  an  opportunity  of  honouring  God 
with,  and  employing  in  his  service. 

Now,  1.  The  Captain  of  the  Lord’s  host  gives 
directions  how  the  city  should  be  besieged.  No 
trenches  are  to  be  opened,  no  batteries  erected,  or 
battering  rams  drawn  up,  nor  any  military  prepa¬ 
rations  made;  but  the  ark  of  God  must  be  carried 
by  the  priests  round  the  city,  onc.e  a  day  for  six  days 
together,  and  seven  times  the  seventh  day,  attended 
by  the  men  of  war  in  silence,  the  priests  all  the 
while  blowing  with  trumpets  of  ram’s  horns,  v.  3, 
4.  This  was  all  they  were  to  do. 

2.  He  assures  them,  that  on  the  seventh  day  be¬ 
fore  night,  they  should  without  fail,  be  masters  of 
the  town;  upon  a  s'gnal  given,  they  must  all  shout, 
and  immediately  the  wall  should  fall  down,  which 
would  not  only  expose  the  inhabitants,  but  so  dis¬ 
pirit  them,  that  they  would  not  be  able  to  make 
any  resistance,  v.  5.  God  appointed  this  way,  (1.) 
To  magnify  his  olvn  power,  that  he  might  be  ex¬ 
alted  in  his  own  strength,  Ps.  21.  13.  not  in  the 
strength  of  instruments.  God  would  hereby  yet 
further  make  bare  his  own  almighty  arm  for  the 
encouragement  of  Israel,  and  the  terror  and  con¬ 
fusion  of  the  Canaanites.  (2.)  To  put  an  honour 
upon  his  ark,  the  instituted  token  of  his  presence, 
and  to  give  a  reason  for  the  laws,  by  which  the  peo¬ 
ple  were  obliged  to  look  upon  it  with  the  most  pro¬ 
found  veneration  and  respect.  When,  leng  after 
this,  the  ark  was  brought  into  the  camp  without 
orders  from  God,  it  was  looked  upon  as  a  profana¬ 
tion  of  it,  and  the  people  paid  dear  for  their  pre¬ 
sumption,  1  Sam.  4.  3,  &c.  But  now  that  it  was 
done  by  the  divine  appointment,  it  was  an  honour  to 
the  ark  of  God,  and  a  great  encouragement  to  the 
faith  of  Israel.  (3.)  It  was  likewise  to  put  honour 
upon  the  priests,  who  were  appointed  upon  this  oc¬ 
casion  to  carry  the  ark,  and  sound  the  trumpets. 
Ordinarily,  the  priests  were  excused  from  war; 
that  that  privilege,  with  other  honours  and  powers 
that  the  law  had  given  them,  might  not  be  grudged 
them,  in  this  service  they  are  principally  employed, 
and  so  the  people  are  made  sensible  what  blessings 
they  were  to  the  public,  and  how  well  worthy  of  all 
the  advantages  conferred  upon  them.  (4. )  It  was 
to  try  the  faith,  obedience,  and  patience,  of  the 
people,  to  try  w’hether  they  would  observe  a  pre¬ 
cept,  which  to  human  policy  seemed  foolish  to 
obey,  and  believe  a  promise  which  inhuman  proba¬ 
bility  seemed  impossible  to  be  performed.  They 
were  also  proved,  whether  they  could  patiently 
bear  the  reproaches  of  their  enemies,  and  patiently 
wait  for  the  salvation  of  the  Lord.  Thus,  by  faith, 
not  by  force,  the  walls  of  Jericho  fell  down.  (5.1 


32 


JOSHUA,  VI. 


It  was  to  encourage  the  hope  of  Israel,  with  refer¬ 
ence  to  the  remaining  difficulties  that  were  before 
them.  That  suggestion  of  the  evil  spies,  that  Ca¬ 
naan  could  never  be  conquered,  because  the  cities 
were  walled,  u/i  to  heaven,  (Deut.  1.  28.)  would  by 
this  be  for  ever  silenced.  The  strongest  and  high¬ 
est  walls  cannot  hold  out  against  Omnipotence; 
they  needed  not  to  fight,  and  therefore  needed  not 
to  fear,  because  God  fought  for  them. 

6.  And  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun  called 
the  priests,  and  said  unto  them,  Take  up 
the  ark  of  the  covenant,  and  let  seven 
priests  bear  seven  trumpets  of  rams’  horns 
before  the  ark  of  the  Lord.  7.  And  he 
said  unto  the  people,  Pass  on,  and  compass 
the  city,  and  let  him  that  is  armed  pass  on 
before  the  ark  of  the  Lord.  8.  And  it 
came  to  pass,  when  Joshua  had  spoken 
unto  the  people,  that  the  seven  priests  bear¬ 
ing  the  seven  trumpets  of  rams’  horns 
passed  on  before  the  Lord,  and  blew  with 
the  trumpets ;  and  the  ark  of  the  covenant 
of  the  Lord  followed  them.  9.  And  the 
armed  men  went  before  the  priests  that 
blew  with  the  trumpets,  and  the  rearward 
came  after  the  ark,  the  priests  going  on,  and 
blowing  with  the  trumpets.  10.  And  Joshua 
had  commanded  the  people,  saying,  Ye 
shall  not  shout  nor  make  any  noise  with 
your  voice,  neither  shall  any  word  proceed 
out  of  your  mouth,  until  the  day  I  bid  you 
shout ;  then  shall  ye  shout.  1 1 .  So  the  ark 
of  the  Lord  compassed  the  city,  going 
about  it  once :  and  they  came  into  the 
camp,  and  lodged  in  the  camp.  12.  And 
Joshua  rose  early  in  the  morning,  and  the 
priests  took  up  the  ark  of  the  Lord.  13. 
And  seven  priests,  bearing  seven  trumpets 
of  rams’  horns  before  the  ark  of  the  Lord, 
went  on  continually,  and  blew  with  the 
trumpets :  and  the  armed  men  went  before 
them  but  the  rearward  came  after  the  ark 
of  the  Lord,  the  priests  going  on,  and 
blowing  with  the  trumpets.  14.  And  the 
second  day  they  compassed  the  city  once, 
and  returned  into  the  camp-:  so  they  did 
six  days.  1 5.  And  it  came  to  pass  on  the 
seventh  day,  that  they  rose  early  about  the 
dawning  of  the  day,  and  compassed  the 
city  after  the  same  manner  seven  times : 
only  on  that  day  they  compassed  the  city 
seven  times.  16.  And  it  came  to  pass  at 
the  seventh  time,  when  the  priests  blew 
with  the  trumpets,  Joshua  said  unto  the 
people,  Shout;  for  the  Lord  hath  given  you 
the  city. 

We  have  here  an  account  of  the  cavalcade  which 
Israel  made  about  Jericho,  the  orders  Joshua  gave 
concerning  it,  as  he  had  received  them  from  the 
Lord,  and  their  punctual  observance  of  these  orders. 
We  do  not  find  that  he  gave  the  people  the  express 
assurances  God  had  given  him,  that  he  would  de¬ 


liver  the  city  into  their  hands;  he  tried  whether 
they  would  obey  orders  with  a  general  confidence 
that  it  would  end  well,  and  we  find  them  very  ob¬ 
servant  both  of  God  and  Joshua. 

I.  Wherever  the  ark  went  the  people  attended 
it,  v.  9.  The  armed  men  went  before  it  to  clear 
the  way,  not  thinking  it  any  disparagement  to  them, 
though  they  were  men  of  war,  to  be  pioneers  to  the 
ark  of  God.  If  any  obstacle  should  be  found  in 
crossing  all  the  roads  that  led  to  the  city,  (which 
they  must  do  in  walking  round  it,)  they  would  re¬ 
move  it;  if  any  opposition  should  be  made  by  the 
enemy,  they  would  encounter  it,  that  the  priests’ 
march  with  the  ark  might  be  easy  and  safe.  It  is 
an  honour  to  the  greatest  of  men  to  do  any  good 
office  to  the  ark,  and  to  serve  the  interests  of  re¬ 
ligion  in  their  country.  The  rearward,  either 
another  body  of  armed  men,  or  Dan’s  squadron, 
which  marched  last  through  the  wilderness,  or,  as 
some  think,  the  multitude  of  the  people  who  were 
not  armed  or  disciplined  for  war,  (as  many  of  them 
as  would,)  followed  the  ark,  to  testify  their  respects 
to  it,  to  grace  the  solemnity,  and  to  be  witnesses  of 
what  was  done.  Every  faithful  zealous  Israelite 
would  be  willing  to  undergo  the  same  fatigues,  and  run 
the  same  hazard  with  the  priests  that  bare  the  ark. 

II.  Seven  priests  went  immediately  before  the 
ark,  having  trumpets  in  their  hands,  with  which 
they  were  continually  sounding,  v.  4,  5,  9,  13.  The 
priests  were  God’s  ministers,  and  thus  in  his  name, 
1.  They  proclaimed  war  with  the  Canaanites,  and 
so  struck  a  terror  upon  them;  for  by  terrors  upon 
their  spirits  they  were  to  be  conquered  and  sub¬ 
dued.  Thus  God’s  ministers,  by  the  solemn  decla¬ 
rations  of  his  wrath  against  all  ungodliness,  and 
unrighteousness  of  men,  must  blow  the  trumpet  in 
Sion,  and  sound  an  alarm  in  the  holy  mountain,  that 
the  sinners  in'  Sion  may  be  afraid.  They  are  God’s 
heralds  to  denounce  war  against  pll  those  that  go  on 
still  in  their  trespasses,  but  say,  “We  shall  have 
peace,  though  we  go  on.”  2.  They  proclaimed 
God’s  gracious  presence  with  Israel,  and  so  put  life 
and  courage  into  them.  It  was  appointed  that 
when  they  went  to  war,  the  priests  should  en¬ 
courage  them  with  the  assurance  of  God’s  presence 
with  them,  Deut.  20.  2 . .  4.  And  particularly 
their  blowing  with  trumpets  was  to  be  a  sign  to  the 
people,  that  they  should  be  remembered  before  the 
Lord  their  God  in  the  day  of  battle,  Numb.  10.  9. 
It  encouraged  Abijah,  2  Chron.  13.  12.  Thus 
God’s  ministers,  by  sounding  the  Jubilee  trumpet 
of  the  everlasting  gospel,  which  proclaims  liberty 
and  victory,  must  encourage  the  good  soldiers  of 
Jesus  Christ  in  their  spiritual  warfare. 

III.  The  trumpets  they  used,  were  not  these 
silver  trumpets  which  were  appointed  to  be  made 
for  their  ordinary  sendee,  but  trumpets  of  rams’ 
horns,  bored  hollow  for  the  purpose,  as  some  think; 
these  trumpets  were  of  the  basest  matter,  duller 
sound,  and  least  show,  that  the  excellency  of  the 
power  might  be  of  God.  Thus  by  the  foolishness 
of  preaching,  fitly  compared  to  the  sounding  ot 
these  rams’  horns,  the  devil’s  kingdom  is  thrown 
down,  and  the  weapons  of  our  warfare,  though 
they  are  not  carnal,  nor  seem  to  a  carnal  eye  likely 
to  bring  any  thing  to  pass,  are  yet  mighty  through 
God  to  the  pulling  down  of  strong  folds,  2  Cor. 
10.  4,  5.  The  word  here  is  trumpets  of  Jobel,  that 
is,  such  trumpets  as  they  used  to  blow  withal  in  the 
year  of  jubilee;  many  interpreters  understand  it  so, 
as  signifying  the  complete  liberty  to  which  Israel 
was  now  brought,  and  the  bringing  of  the  land  of 
Canaan  into  the  hands  of  its  just  and  rightful 
owners. 

IV.  All  the  people  were  commanded  to  be  silent, 
not  to  speak  a  word,  nor  make  any  noise,  v.  10.  that 
they  might  the  more  carefully  attend  to  the  sound 


33 


JOSHUA,  VI. 


of  the  sacred  trumpets,  which  they  were  now  to 
look  upon  as  the  voice  of  God  among  them;  and  it 
does  not  become  us  to  speak  when  God  is  speaking. 
It  likewise  intimates  their  reverent  expectation  of 
the  event,  Zech.  2.  13,  Be  silent,  O  all  Jlesh  before 
the  Lord.  Exod.  14.  14,  God  shall  fight,  and  ye 
shall  hold  your  peace. 

V.  They  were  to  do  this  once  a  day  for  six  days 
together,  and  seven  times  the  seventh  day,  v.  14, 
15.  God  could  have  caused  the  walls  of  Jericho  to 
fall  upon  the  first  surrounding  of  them,  but  they 
must  go  round  them  thirteen  times  before  they  fall, 
that  they  might  be  kept  waiting  patiently  for  the 
Lord.  Though  they  were  lately  come  into  Canaan, 
and  their  time  was  very  precious,  (for  they  had  a 
great  deal  of  work  before  them,)  yet  they  must 
linger  so  many  days  about  Jericho,  seeming  to  do 
nothing,  nor  to  make  any  progress  in  their  business. 
As  promised  deliverances  must  be  expected  in 
God’s  wav,  so  they  must  be  expected  in  his  time. 
He  that  believes,  does  not  make  haste,  not  more 
haste  than  God  would  have  him  make.  Go  yet 
sex'en  times  before  any  thing  hopeful  appears,  1 
Kings  18.  43. 

VI.  One  of  these  days  must  needs  be  a  sabbath- 
day,  and  the  Jews  say  that  it  was  the  last,  but  that 
is  not  certain;  however,  if  he  that  appointed  them 
to  rest  on  the  other  sabbath-days,  appointed  them 
to  walk  on  this,  that  was  sufficient  to  justify  them  in 
it;  he  never  intended  to  bind  himself  by  his  own 
laws,  but  that  when  he  pleased  he  might  dispense  1 
with  them.  The  impotent  man  went  upon  this 
principle  when  he  argued,  John  5.  11,  He  that 
made  me  mhole  (and  therefore  has  a  divine  power,) 
he  said  unto  me,  Take  up  thy  bed.  And  in  this 
case  here,  it  was  an  honour  to  the  sabbath-day,  by 
which  our  time  is  divided  into  weeks,  that  just 
seven  days  were  to  be  spent  in  this  work,  and  seven 
priests  were  employed  to  sound  seven  trumpets; 
that  number  being,  on  this  occasion,  as  well  as 
many  others,  made  remarkable,  in  remembrance 
of  the  six  days’  work  of  creation,  and  the  seventh 
day’s  rest  from  it.  And,  besides,  the  law  of  the 
sabbath  forbids  our  own  work,  which  is  servile  and 
secular,  but  this  which  they  did,  was  a  religious  act. 
It  is  certainly  no  breach  of  the  sabbath-rest  to  do 
the  sabbath- work,  for  the  sake  of  which  the  rest 
was  instituted;  and  what  is  the  sabbath- work  but  to 
attend  the'ark  in  all  its  motions? 

VII.  They  continued  to  do  this,  during  the  time 
appointed,  and  seven  times  the  seventh  day,  though 
they  saw  not  any  effect  of  it,  believing  that  at  the 
end  the  vision  mould  speak  and  not  lie,  Hab.  2.  3. 
If  we  persevere  in  the  way  of  duty,  we  shall  lose 
nothing  by  it  in  the  long  run.  It  is  probable  they 
walked  at  such  a  distance  from  the  walls,  as  to  be 
out  of  the  reach  of  the  enemies’  arrows,  and  out  of 
the  hearing  of  their  scoffs.  We  may  suppose  the 
oddness  of  the  thing  did  at  first  amuse  the  besieged, 
but  by  the  seventh  day  they  were  grown  secure, 
feeling  no  harm  from  that,  which  perhaps  they  look¬ 
ed  upon  as  an  enchantment.  Probably,  they  bantered 
the  besiegers,  as  they,  Neh.  4.  2,  “  What  do  these  fee¬ 
ble  Jems ?  Is  this  the  people  they  thought  so  formi¬ 
dable?  Are  these  their  methods  of  attack?”  Thus 
they  cried  Peace  and  Safety,  that  the  destruction 
might  be  the  more  terrible  when  it  came.  Wicked 
men  (says  Bishop  Hall)  think  God  in  jest  mhen  he 
is  prepaying  for  their  judgment;  but  they  will  be 
convinced  of  their  mistake  when  it  is  too  late. 

VIII.  At  last  they  were  to  give  a  shout,  and  did 
so,  and  immediately  the  walls  fell,  v.  16.  This 
was  a  shout  for  mastery,- a  triumphant  shout,  the 
shout  of  a  king  is  among  them ,  Numb.  23.  21. 
This  was  a  shout  of  faith;  they  believed  that  the 
walls  of  Jericho  would  fall,  and  by  that  faith  they 
were  thrown  down.  It  was  a  shout  of  prayer,  an 

Vol.  ii. — E 


echo  to  the  sound  of  the  trumpets  which  proclaimed 
the  promise  that  God  would  remember  them;  with 
one  accord,  as  one  man,  they  cry  to  heaven  for 
help,  and  help  comes  in.  Some  allude  to  this  to 
show  that  we  must  never  expect  a  complete  victory 
over  our  own  corruptions  till  the  very  evening  of 
our  last  day,  and  then  we  shall  shout  in  triumph 
over  them,  mhen  me  come  to  the  number  and  mea¬ 
sure  of  our  perjections,  as  Bishop  Hall  expresses  it. 
A  good  heart  (says  he)  groans  under  the  sense  of  his 
infirmities,  fain  mould  be  rid  of  them,  and  strives 
and  prays,  but  mhen  all  is  done,  until  the  end  of  the 
seventh  day  it  cannot  be;  then  judgment  shall  be 
brought  forth  unto  victory.  And  at  the  end  of 
time,  when  our  Lord  shall  descend  from  heaven 
with  a  shout,  and  the  sound  of  a  trumpet,  Satan’s 
kingdom  shall  be  completely  ruined,  and  not  till 
then,  when  all  opposing  rule,  principality,  and 
power,  shall  be  effectu  lly  and  eternally  put  down. 

17.  And  the  city  shall  be  accursed,  even 
it  and  all  that  are  therein,  to  the  Lord: 
only  Rahab  the  harlot  shall  live,  she  and  all 
that  are  with  her  in  the  h  xise,  because  she 
hid  the  messengers  that  we  sent.  1 8.  And- 
you,  in  any  wise  keep  yourselves  from  the 
accursed  thing,  lest  ye  make  yourselves  ac¬ 
cursed,  when  ye  lake  off  the  accursed  thing, 
and  make  the  camp  of  Israel  a  curse,  and 
trouble  it.  19.  But  all  the  silver,  and  gold, 
and  vessels  of  brass  and  iron,  are  conse¬ 
crated  unto  the  Lord:  they  shall  come 
into  the  treasury  of  the  Lord.  20.  So  the 
people  shouted  when  the  priests  blew  with 
the  trumpets :  and  it  came  to  pass,  when 
the  people  heard  the  sound  of  the  trumpet, 
and  the  people  shouted  with  a  great  shout, 
that  the  wall  fell  down  flat,  so  that  the  peo¬ 
ple  went  up  into  the  city,  every  man  straight 
before  him,  and  they  took  the  city:  21. 
And  they  utterly  destroyed  all  that  was  in 
the  city,  both  man  and  woman,  young  and 
old,  and  ox,  and  sheep,  and  ass,  with  the 
edge  of  the  sword.  22.  But  Joshua  had 
said  unto  the  two  men  that  had  spied  oul 
the  country,  Go  into  the  harlot’s  house,  and 
bring  out  thence  the  woman,  and  all  that 
she  hath,  as  ye  sware  unto  her.  23.  And 
the  young  men  that  were  spies  went  in,  and 
brought  out  Rahab,  and  her  father,  and  her 
mother,  and  her  brethren,  and  all  that  she 
had ;  and  they  brought  out  all  her  kindred, 
and  left  them  without  the  camp  of  Israel. 
24.  And  they  burnt  the  city  with  fire,  and 
all  that  teas  therein :  only  the  silver,  and  the 
gold,  and  the  vessels  of  brass  and  of  iron, 
they  put  into  the  treasury  of  the  house  of 
the  Lord.  25.  And  Joshua  saved  Rahab 
the  harlot  alive,  and  her  father’s  household, 
and  all  that  she  had ;  and  she  dwelleth  in 
Israel  even  unto  this  day ;  because  she  hid 
the  messengers  which  Joshua  sent  to  spy 
out  Jericho.  26.  And  Joshua  adjured  them 
at  that  time,  saying,  Cursed  be  the  man  be¬ 
fore  the  Lord  that  risoth  up  and  buildeth 


J4  JOS  Fill  A,  VI. 


this  city  Jericho  :  he  shall  lay  the  foundation 
thereof  in  his  first-born,  and  in  his  youngest 
son  shall  he  set  up  the  gates  of  it.  27.  So 
the  Lord  was  with  Joshua  ;  and  his  fame 
was  noised  throughout  all  the  country. 

The  people  had  religiously  observed  the  orders 
given  them  concerning  the  besieging  of  Jericho,  and 
now  at  length  Joshua  had  told  them,  v.  16,  “  The 
Lord  hath  given  you  the  city,  enter  and  take  pos¬ 
session.”  Accordingly,  in  these  verses  we  have, 

I.  The  rules  they  were  to  observe  in  taking  pos¬ 
session;  God  gives  it  them,  and  therefore  may  direct 
it  to  what  uses  and  intents,  and  clog  it  with  what 
provisos  and  limitations  he  thinks  fit.  It  is  given 
to  them  to  be  devoted  to  God,  as  the  first,  and  per¬ 
haps  the  worst,  of  all  the  cities  of  Canaan. 

1.  The  city  must  be  burnt,  and  all  the  lives  in  it  sa¬ 
crificed  without  mercy  to  the  justice  of  God.  All  this 
they  knew  was  included  in  those  words,  v.  17.  The 
city  shall  be  a  cherem,  a  devoted  thing,  it  and  all 
therein,  to  the  Lord;  no  life  in  it  might  be  ransomed 
upon  any  terms,  they  must  all  be  surely  fiut  to  death, 
Lev.  27.  29.  So  He  appoints,  from  whom  as  crea¬ 
tures  they  had  received  their  lives,  and  to  whom  as 
sinners  they  had  forfeited  them;  and  who  may  dis¬ 
pute  his  sentence?  Is  God  unrighteous,  who  thus 
laketh  vengeance?  God  forbid  we  should  entertain 
such  a  thought!  There  was  more  of  God  seen  in 
the  taking  of  Jericho,  than  of  any  other  of  the  cities 
of  Canaan,  and  therefore  that  must  be  more  than 
any  other  devoted  to  him.  And  the  severe  usage  of 
this  city  would  strike  a  terror  upon  all  the  rest  and 
melt  their  hearts  yet  more  before  Israel.  Only 
when  this  severity  is  ordered,  Rahab  and  her  fami¬ 
ly  are  excepted;  she  shall  live  and  all  that  are  with 
her.  She  had  distinguished  herself  from  her  neigh¬ 
bours  by  the  kindness  she  showed  to  Israel,  and 
therefore  shall  be  distinguished  from  them  by  the 
speedy  return  of  that  kindness. 

2.  All  the  treasure  of  it,  the  monev  and  plate  and 
valuable  goods,  must  be  consecrated  to  the  service 
of  the  tabernacle,  and  brought  into  the  stock  of  dedi¬ 
cated  things:  The  Jews  sav,  because  the  citv  was 
taken  on  the  sabbath-day.  Thus  God  would  be  ho¬ 
noured  by  the  beautifying  and  enriching  of  his 
tabernacle;  thus  preparation  was  made  for  the 
extraordinary  expenses  of  his  service:  and  thus  the 
Israelites  were  taught  not  to  set  their  hearts  upon 
worldly  wealth,  nor  to  aim  at  heaping  up  abundance 
of  it  for  themselves.  God  had  promised  them  a  land 
flowing  with  milk  and  honey,  not  a  land  abounding 
with  silver  and  gold,  for  he  would  have  them  live 
comfortably  in  it,  that  they  might  serve  him  cheer¬ 
fully,  but  not  covet  either  to  trade  with  distant 
countries,  or  to  hoard  for  aftertimes.  He  would 
likewise  have  them  reckon  themselves  enriched  in 
the  enriching  of  the  tabernacle;  and  to  think  that 
which  was  laid  up  in  God’s  house  as  truly  their  ho¬ 
nour  and  wealth  as  if  it  had  been  laid  up  in  their 
own. 

A  particular  caution  is  given  them  to  take  heed 
of  meddling  with  the  forbidden  spoil ;  for  what  was 
devoted  to  God,  if  they  offered  to  appropriate  it  to 
their  own  use,  would  prove  accursed  to  them ;  there¬ 
fore,  v.  18,  “  In  any  wise  keefi  yourselves  from  the 
accursed  thing ;  you  will  find  yourselves  inclined  to 
reach  towards  it,  but  check  yourselves,  frighten 
yourselves  from  having  anything  to  do  with  it.” 
He  speaks  as  if  he  foresaw  the  sin  of  Achan,  which 
we  have  an  account  of  in  the  next  chapter,  when  he 
gives  that  reason  for  the  caution,  lest  ye  make  the 
cam/i  of  Israel  a  curse,  and  trouble  it,  as  it  proved 
that  Achan  did. 

II.  The  entrance  that  was  opened  to  them  into 
the  city  by  the  sudden  fall  of  the  walls,  or  at  least 


that  part  of  the  wall  over-against  which  they  then 
were  when  they  gave  the  shout,  v.  20,  The  wall 
fell  down  flat,  and,  probably,  killed  abundance  of 
people;  the  guards  that  stood  sentinel  upon  it,  or 
others  that  crowded  upon  it,  to  look  at  the  Israel¬ 
ites  that  were  walking  around.  We  read  of  thou¬ 
sands  killed  by  the  fall  of  a  wall,  1  Kings  20  30. 
That  which  they  trusted  to  for  defence,  proved  their 
destruction.  The  sudden  fall  of  the  wall,  no  doubt, 
put  the  inhabitants  into  such  a  consternation,  chat 
they  had  no  strength  nor  spirit  to  make  any  resist¬ 
ance,  but  they  became  an  easy  prey  to  the  sword  of 
Israel,  and  saw  to  how  little  purpose  it  was  to  shut 
their  gates  against  a  people  that  had  the  Lord  ori  the 
head  of  them,  Mic.  2.  13.  Note,  The  God  of  hea¬ 
ven  easily  can,  and  certainly  will,  break  down  all 
the  opposing  power  of  his  and  his  church’s  enemies. 
Gates  of  brass  and  bars  of  iron  are,  before  him,  but 
as  straw  and  rotten  wood,  Isa.  45.  1,  2.  Who  will 
bring  me  into  the  strong  city?  Wilt  not  thou,  O  God? 
Ps.  60.  9,  10.  Thus  shall  Satan’s  kingdom  fall,  nor 
shall  any  prosper,  that  hardened  themselves  agains*- 
God. 

III.  The  execution  of  the  orders  given  concern 
this  devoted  city.  All  that  breathed,  were  put 
the  sword;  not  only  the  men  that  were  found 
arms,  but  the  women  and  children  and  old  peop 
Though  they  cried  for  quarter,  and  begged  ever 
earnestly  for  their  lives,  there  was  no  room  for  co¬ 
passion,  pity  must  be  forgotten,  they  utterly  c 
stroyed  all,  v.  21.  If  they  had  not  had  a  divi 
warrant,  under  the  seal  of  miracles  for  this  exec 
tion,  it  could  not  have  been  justified,  nor  can 
justify  the  like  now,  when  we  are  sure  no  stu 
warrant  can  be  produced.  But  being  appointed  1 
the  righteous  Judge  of  heaven  and  earth  to  do  i 
who  is  not  unrighteous  in  taking  vengeance,  they  ai 
to  be  applauded  in  doing  it,  as  the  faithful  mimste 
of  his  justice.  Work  for  God  was  then  bloody 
work;  and  cursed  was  he  that  did  it  deceitfully, 
keeping  back  his  sword  from  blood,  Jer.  48.  10.  But 
the  spirit  of  the  gospel  is  very  different,  for  Christ 
came  not  to  destroy  men’s  lives  but  to  save  them, 
Luke  9.  56.  Christ’s  victories  were  of  another  na¬ 
ture.  The  cattle  were  put  to  death  with  the 
owners,  as  additional  sacrifices  to  the  divine  justice. 
The  cattle  of  the  Israelites,  when  slain  at  the  altar, 
were  accepted  as  sacrifices  for  them,  but  the  cattle 
of  those  Canaanites  were  required  to  be  slain  as  sa¬ 
crifices  with  them,  for  their  iniquity  was  not  to  be 
purged  with  sacrifice  and  offering:  both  were  for 
the  glory  of  God.  2.  The  city  was  burnt  with flre, 
and  all  that  was  in  it,  v.  24.  The  Israelites,  per¬ 
haps,  when  they  had  taken  Jericho,  a  large  and 
well-built  city,  hoped  they  should  have  that  for 
their  head-quarters;  but  God  will  have  them  yet  to 
dwell  in  tents,  and  therefore  fires  this  nest,  lest  they 
should  nestle  in  it.  3.  All  the  silver  and  gold,  ancl 
all  those  vessels  which  were  capable  of  being  puri¬ 
fied  by  fire,  were  brought  into  the  treasury  of  the 
house  of  the  Lord;  not  that  he  needed  it,  but  he 
would  be  honoured  by  it,  as  the  Lord  of  hosts,  of 
their  hosts  in  particular,  the  God  that  gave  the  vic¬ 
tory,  and  therefore  might  demand  the  spoil;  either  the 
whole,  as  here,  or,  as  sometimes,  a  tenth,  Heb.  7.  4. 

IV.  The  preservation  of  Rahab  the  harlot,  or 
inn-keeper,  who  perished  not  with  them  that  believ¬ 
ed  not,  Heb.  11.  31.  The  public  faith  was  engaged 
for  her  safety,  by  the  two  spies,  who  acted  therein 
as  public  persons;  and  therefore  though  the  hurry 
they  were  in  at  the  taking  of  the  town,  no  doubt, 
was  very  great,  vet  Joshua  took  effectual  care  for  her 
preservation.  The  same  persons  that  she  had  secur¬ 
ed,  were  employed  to  secure  her,  v.  22,  23.  They 
were  best  able  to  do  it,  who  knew  her  and  her  house, 
and  they  were  fittest  to  do  it,  that  it  might  appeal 
it  was  for  the  sake  of  her  kindness  to  them,  that  she 


JOSHUA,  VI 1. 


35 


■was  thus  distinguished,  and  had  her  life  given  her 
for  a  prey.  All  her  kindred  were  saved  with  her; 
like  Noah  she  believed  to  the  saving  of  her  house; 
and  thus  faith  in  Christ  brings  salvation  to  the  house. 
Acts  16.  31.  Some  ask,  how  her  house,  which  is 
said  to  have  been  u/ion  the  wall ,  ch.  2.  15.  escaped 
falling  with  the  wall;  we  are  sure  it  did  escape,  for 
she  and  her  relations  were  safe  in  it:  either  though 
it  joined  so  near  to  the  wall  as  to  be  said  to  be  upon 
it,  yet  it  was  so  far  off  as  not  to  fall  either  with  the 
wail  or  under  it;  or  rather  that  part  of  the  wall  on 
which  her  house  stood,  fell  not.  Now  being  pre¬ 
served  alive,  1.  She  was  left  for  some  time  without 
the  camp  to  be  purified  from  the  gentile  supersti¬ 
tion,  which  she  was  to  renounce,  and  to  be  prepared 
for  her  admission  as  a  proselyte.  2.  She  was  in  due 
time  incorporated  with  the  church  of  Israel,  and 
she  and  her  posterity  dwelt  in  Israel,  and  her  fami¬ 
ly  was  remarkable  long  after.  We  find  her  the 
wife  of  Salmon,  prince  of  Judah,  mother  of  Boaz, 
and  named  among  the  ancestors  of  our  Saviour, 
Matt.  1.  5.  Having  received  Israelites  in  the  name 
of  Israelites,  she  had  an  Israelite’s  reward.  Bishop 
Pierson  observes,  that  Joshua’s  saving  Rahab  the 
harlot,  and  admitting  her  into  Israel,  was  a  figure 
of  Christ’s  receiving  into  his  kingdom,  and  enter¬ 
taining  there,  the  publicans  and  the  harlots,  Matt. 
21,  31.  Or  it  may  be  applied  to  the  conversion  of 
the  Gentiles. 

V.  Jericho  is  condemned  to  a  perpetual  desola¬ 
tion,  and  a  curse  pronounced  upon  the  man  that  at 
any  time  hereafter  should  offer  to  rebuild  it,  v.  26. 
Joshua  adjured  them,  that  is,  the  elders  and  people 
of  Israel,  not  only  by  their  own  consent,  obliging 
themselves  and  their  posterity  never  to  rebuild  this 
city,  but  by  the  divine  appointment;  God  himself 
having  forbidden  it  under  the  severe  penalty  here 
annexed.  1.  God  would  hereby  show  the  weight 
of  a  divine  curse;  where  it  rests  there  is  no  contend¬ 
ing  with  it  nor  getting  from  under  it;  it  brings  ruin 
without  remedy  or  repair.  2.  He  would  have  it  to 
remain  in  its  ruins  a  standing  monument  of  his  wrath 
against  the  Canaanites,  when  the  measure  of  their 
iniquity  was  full;  and  of  his  mercy  to  his  people, 
when  the  time  was  come  for  their  settlement  in  Ca¬ 
naan.  The  desolations  of  their  enemies  were  wit¬ 
nesses  of  his  favour  to  them,  and  would  upbraid  them 
with  their  ingratitude  to  that  God  who  had  done  so 
much  for  them.  The  situation  of  the  city  was  very 
pleasant,  and  probably,  its  nearness  to  Jordan  was  an 
advantage  to  it,  which  would  tempt  men  to  build  up¬ 
on  the  same  spot;  but  they  are  here  told  it  is  at  their 
eril  if  they  do  it.  Men  build  for  their  posterity, 
ut  he  that  builds  Jericho,  shall  have  no  posterity  to 
enjoy  what  he  builds;  his  eldest  son  shall  die  when 
he  begins  the  work,  and  if  he  take  not  warning  by 
that  stroke  to  desist,  but  will  go  on  presumptuously, 
the  finishing  of  his  work  shall  be  attended  with  the 
funeral  of  his  youngest,  and  we  must  suppose  all  the 
rest  cut  off  between.  This  curse,  not  being  a  cur-e 
causeless,  did  come  upon  that  man  who  long  after 
rebuilded  Jericho,  1  Kings  16.  34.  but  we  are  not  to 
think  it  made  the  place  ever  the  worse  when  it  was 
built,  or  brought  any  hurt  to  them  that  inhabited  it. 
We  find  Jericho  afterward  graced  with  the  presence, 
not  only  of  those  two  great  prophets  Elijah  and  Eli¬ 
sha,  but  of  our  blessed  Saviour  himself,  Luke  18. 
35*  19.  1.  Matt.  20.  29.  Note,  It  is  a  dangerous 
thing  to  attempt  the  building  up  of  that  which  God 
will  have  to  be  destroyed.  See  Mai.  1.  4. 

Lastly,  All  this  magnified  Joshua  and  raised  his 
reputation,  v.  2 7.  it  made  him  not  only  acceptable 
to  Israel,  but  formidable  to  the  Canaanites,  because 
it  appeared  that  God  was  with  him  of  a  truth:  the 
Word  of  the  Lord  was  with  him,  so  the  Chaldee, 
even  Christ  himself,  the  same  that  was  with  Moses. 
Nothing  can  more  raise  a  man’s  reputation,  nor 


make  him  appear  more  truly  gteat,  than  to  have 
the  evidences  of  God’s  presence  with  him. 

CHAP.  VII. 

More  than  once  we  have  found  the  affairs  of  Israel,  then 
when  they  were  in  the  happiest  posture,  and  gave  the 
most  hopeful  prospects,  perplexed  and  embarrassed  by 
sin,  and  a  stop  thereby  put  to  the  most  promising 
proceedings.  The  golden  calf,  the  murmuring  at  Ka- 
desh,  and  the  iniquity  of  Peor,  had  broken  their  mea¬ 
sures  and  given  them  great  disturbance;  and  in  this 
chapter  we  have  such  another  instance  of  the  interrup¬ 
tion  given  to  the  progress  of  theft  arms  by  sin.  But  ft 
being  only  the  sin  of  one  person  or  family,  and  soon 
expiated,  the  consequences  were  not  so  mischievous  as 
of  those  other  sins;  however  it  served  to  let  them  know 
that  they  were  still  upon  their  good  behaviour.  We  have 
here,  I.  The  sin  of  Achan  in  meddling  with  the  accursed 
thing,  v.  1.  II  The  defeat  of  Israel  before  Ai  thereupon, 
v.  2.. 5.  III.  Joshua’s  humiliation  and  prayer  on  occa¬ 
sion  of  that  sad  disaster,  v.  6.. 9.  IV.  The  directions 
God  gave  him  for  the  putting  away  of  the  guilt,  which 
had  provoked  God  thus  to  contend  with  them,v.  10.  .15. 
V.  The  discovery,  trial,  conviction,  condemnation,  and 
execution,  of  the  criminal,  by  which  the  anger  of  God 
was  turned  away,  v.  16..  26.  And  by  this  story  it 
appears  that,  as  the  law,  so  Canaan  itself,  made  nothing 
perfect,  the  perfection  both  of  holiness  and  peace  to 
God’s  Israel  is  to  be  expected  in  the  heavenly  Canaan 
^  only. 

1.  ~OUT  the  children  of  Israel  committed 
Jl3  a  trespass  in  the  accursed  thing :  for 
Achan,  the  son  of  Carmi,  the  son  of  Zabdi, 
the  son  of  Zerah,  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  took 
of  the  accursed  thing :  and  the  anger  of  the 
Lord  was  kindled  against  the  children  of 
Israel.  2.  And  Joshua  sent  men  from  Jeri¬ 
cho  to  Ai,  which  is  beside  Beth-aven,  on  the 
east  side  of  Beth-el,  and  spake  unto  them, 
saying,  Go  up  and  view  the  country.  And 
the  men  went  up  and  viewed  Ai.  3.  And 
they  returned  to  Joshua,  and  said  unto  him, 
Let  not  all  the  people  go  up ;  but  let  about 
two  or  three  thousand  men  go  up  and  smite 
Ai ;  and  make  not  all  the  people  to  labour 
thither  ;  for  they  are  but  few.  4.  So  there, 
went  up  thither  of  the  people  about  three 
thousand  men  :  and  they  fled  before  the  men 
of  Ai.  5.  And  the  men  of  Ai  smote  of  them 
about  thirty  and  six  men  :  for  they  chased 
them  from  before  the  gate  even  unto  Sheba- 
rim,  and  smote  them  in  the  going  down  ; 
wherefore  the  hearts  of  the  people  melted, 
and  became  as  water. 

The  story  of  this  chapter  begins  with  a  but.  The 
Lord  was  with  Joshua,  and  his  fame  was  noised 
through  all  that  country;  so  the  foregoing  chaptei 
ends,  and  it  left  no  room  to  doubt  but  that  he  would 
go  on  as  he  had  begun,  conquering  and  to  conquer. 
He  did  right,  and  observed  his  orders  in  every 
thing.  But  the  children  of  Israel  committed  a  tres 
pass,  and  so  set  God  against  them;  and  then  evei. 
Joshua’s  name  and  fame,  his  wisdom  and  courage, 
could  do  them  no  service.  If  we  lose  our  God,  we 
lose  our  friends,  who  cannot  help  us  unless  God  be 
for  us.  Now  here  is, 

I.  Achan  sinning;  v.  1.  Here  is  only  a  general 
mention  made  of  the  sin,  we  shall  afterward  have 
a  more  particular  account  of  it  from  his  own  mouth. 
The  sin  is  here  said  to  be  taking  of  the  accursed 
thing,  in  disobedience  to  the  command,  and  in  defi¬ 
ance  of  the  threatening,  ch.  6.  18.  In  the  sacking 


3G  JOSHUA,  V1J. 


of  Jericho,  orders  were  given,  that  they  should  I 
neither  spare  any  lives,  nor  take  any  treasure  to 
themselves;  we  read  not  of  the  breach  of  the 
former  prohibition,  (there  were  none  to  whom  they 
showed  any  mercy,)  but  of  the  latter.  Compas¬ 
sion  was  put  off,  and  yielded  to  the  law,  but  covet¬ 
ousness  was  indulged.  The  love  of  the  world  is 
that  root  of  bitterness,  which  of  all  others  is  most 
hardly  rooted  up.  Yet  the  history  of  Achan  is  a 
plain  intimation  that  he  of  all  the  thousands  of  Israel 
was  the  only  delinquent  in  this  matter.  Had  there  j 
been  more  in  like  manner  guilty,  no  doubt  we 
should  have  heard  of  it;  and  it  is  strange  there 
were  no  more.  The  temptation  was  strong,  it  was 
easy  to  suggest  what  a  p,ty  it  was  that  so  many 
things  of  value  should  be  burnt,  to  what  purpose  is 
this  waste?  In  plundering  cities,  every  man  reck¬ 
ons  himself  entitled  to  what  he  can  lay  his  hands  on. 
It  was  easy  to  promise  themselves  secrecy  and  im¬ 
punity;  yet  by  the  grace  of  God  such  impressions 
were  made  upon  the  minds  of  the  Israelites  by  the 
ordinances  ot  God,  circumcision  and  the  passover, 
which  they  had  lately  been  partakers  of,  and  by 
the  providences  of  God  which  had  been  concern¬ 
ing  them,  that  they  stood  in  awe  ot  the  divine  pre¬ 
cept  and  judgment,  and  generously  denied  them¬ 
selves  in  obedience  to  their  God.  And  yet,  though 
it  was  a  single  person  that  sinned,  the  children  of 
Israel  are  said  to  commit  the  trespass,  because  one 
of  their  body  did  it,  and  he  was  not  as  yet  separated 
from  them,  nor  disowned  by  them.  They  did  it, 
that  is,  by  what  Achan  did,  guilt  was  derived  upon 
the  whole  society  of  which  he  was  a  member. 
This  should  be  a  warning  to  us  to  take  heed  of  sin 
ourselves,  lest  by  it  many  be  defiled  or  disquieted, 
Heb.  12.  15.  and  to  take  heed  of  having  fellowship 
with  sinners,  and  of  being  in  with  them,  lest  we 
share  in  their  guilt.  Many  a  careful  tradesman  has 
been  broken  by  a  careless  partner.  And  it  con¬ 
cerns  us  to  watch  over  one  another  for  the  prevent¬ 
ing  of  sin,  because  others’  sins  may  redound  to  our 
damage. 

II.  The  camp  of  Israel  suffering  for  the  same. 
The  anger  o  f  the  Lord  was  kindled  against  Israel ; 
he  saw  the  offence,  though  they  did  not,  and  takes 
a  course  to  make  them  see  it;  for,  one  way  or  other, 
sooner  or  later,  secret  sins  will  be  brought  to  light; 
and  if  men  inquire  not  after  them,  God  will,  and 
with  his  inquiries  will  awaken  their’s.  Many  a 
community  is  under  guilt  and  wrath,  and  is  not 
aware  of  it,  till  the  fire  breaks  out:  here  it  broke 
out  quickly. 

1.  Joshua  sends  a  detachment  to  seize  upon  the 
next  city  that  was  in  their  way,  and  that  was  Ai. 
Only  three  thousand  men  were  sent,  advice  being 
brought  him  by  his  spies  that  the  place  was  incon¬ 
siderable,  and  needed  no  greater  force  for  the  re¬ 
duction  of  it,  v.  2,  3.  Now  perhaps  it  was  a 
culpable  assurance,  or  security  rather,  that  they 
sent  so  small  a  party  on  the  expedition;  it  might 
also  be  an  indulgence  of  the  people  in  the  love 
of  ease,  for  they  will  not  have  all  the  people  to 
labour  thither ;  perhaps  the  people  were  the  less 
forward  to  go  upon  this  expedition,  because  they 
were  denied  the  plunder  of  Jericho;  and  these  spies 
were  willing  they  should  be  gratified.  Whereas 
when  that  town  was  to  be  taken,  though  God  by 
his  own  power  would  throw  down  the  walls,  yet 
they  must  all  labour  thither,  and  labour  there  too, 
in  walking  round  it.  It  did  not  bode  well  at  all, 
that  God’s  Israel  began  to  think  much  of  their 
labour,  and  contrived  how  to  spare  their  pains.  It 
is  required  that  we  work  out  our  salvation,  though 
it  is  God  that  works  in  us.  It  has  likewise  often 
proved  of  bad  consequence  to  make  too  light  of  an 
enemy.  They  are  but  few,  (say  the  spies,)  but  as 
few  as  they  were,  they  were  too  many  for  them. 


It  will  awaken  our  care  and  diligence  in  our 
Christian  warfare,  to  consider  that  we  wrestle  with 
principalities  and  powers. 

2.  The  party  he  sent,  in  their  first  attack  upon 
the  town  were  repulsed  with  some  loss,  v.  4,  5, 
they  fled  before  the  men  of  .di,  finding  themselves 
unaccountably  dispirited,  and  their  enemies  to  sally 
out  upon  them  with  more  vigour  and  resolution  than 
they  expected.  In  their  retreat  they  had  about 
thirty-six  men  cut  off:  no  great  loss  indeed  cut  of 
such  a  number,  but  a  dreadful  surprise  to  those 
who  had  no  reason  to  expect  any  other  in  any 
attack  than  clear,  cheap,  and  certain  victory.  And 
now,  as  it  proves,  it  is  well  there  were  but  three 
thousand  that  fell  under  this  disgrace.  Had  the 
body  of  the  army  been  there,  they  had  been  no 
more  able  to  keep  their  ground,  now  they  were 
under  guilt  and  wrath,  than  this  small  party,  and 
to  them  the  defeat  would  have  been  much  more 
grievous  and  dishonourable.  However,  it  was  bad 
enough  as  it  was,  and  served,  (1.)  To  humble  God’s 
Israel,  and  to  teach  them  always  to  rejoice  with 
trembling.  Let  not  him  that  girdeth  on  the  har¬ 
ness,  boast  as  he  that  putteth  it  off.  (2.)  To  harden 
the  Canaanites,  and  to  make  them  the  more  secure, 
notwithstanding  the  terrors  they  had  been  struck 
with,  that  their  ruin,  when  it  came,  might  be  the 
more  dreadful.  (3.)  To  be  an  evidence  of  God’s 
displeasure  against  Israel,  and  a  call  to  them  to 
purge  out  the  old  leaven.  And  this  was  principally 
intended  in  their  defeat. 

3.  The  retreat  of  this  party  in  disorder,  put  the 
whole  camp  of  Israel  into  a  fright;  the  hearts  of  the 
people  melted,  not  so  much  for  the  loss  as  for  the 
disappointment.  Joshua  had  assured  them  that  the 
living  God  would  without  fail  drive  out  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  from  before  them,  ch.  3.  10.  How  can 
this  event  be  reconciled  to  that  promise?  To  every 
thinking  man  among  them  it  appeared  an  indication 
of  God’s  displeasure,  and  an  omen  of  something 
worse,  and  therefore  no  marvel  it  put  them  into 
such  a  consternation;  if  God  turn  to  be  their  enemy 
and  fight  against  them,  what  will  become  of  them? 
True  Israelites  tremble  when  God  is  angry. 

6.  And  Joshua  rent  his  clothes,  and  fell 
to  the  earth  upon  his  face  before  the  ark  of 
the  Lord  until  the  even-tide,  he  and  the 
elders  of  Israel,  and  put  dust  upon  their 
heads.  7.  And  Joshua  said,  Alas  !  O  Lord 
God,  wherefore  hast  thou  at  all  brought  this 
people  over  Jordan,  to  deliver  us  into  the 
hand  of  the  Amorites,  to  destroy  us  ? 
Would  to  God  we  had  been  content,  and 
dwelt  on  the  other  side  Jordan  !  8.  O 

Lord,  what  shall  T  say,  when  Israel  turn- 
eth  their  back  before  their  enemies  !  9. 

For  the  Canaanites,  and  all  the  inhabitants 
of  the  land  shall  hear  of  it ,  and  shall  en¬ 
viron  us  around,  and  cut  off  our  name  from 
the  earth :  and  what  wilt  thou  do  unto  thy 
great  name  ? 

We  have  here  an  account  of  the  deep  concern 
Joshua  was  in,  upon  this  sad  occasion.  He,  as  a 
public  person,  interested  himself  more  than  any 
other  in  this  public  loss;  and  is  therein  an  example 
to  princes  and  great  men,  and  teaches  them  to  lay 
much  to  heart  the  calamities  that  befall  their  peo¬ 
ple:  he  is  also  a  type  of  Christ,  to  whom  the  blood 
of  his  subiects  is  brecious,  Ps.  72.  14. 

Observe, 

I.  How  he  grieved;  he  rent  his  clothes,  v.  6.  in 


37 


JOSHUA,  Vll. 


token  of  great  sorrow  for  this  public  disaster,  and 
especially  a  dread  of  God’s  displeasure,  which  was 
certainly  the  cause  of  it.  Had  it  been  but  the  com¬ 
mon  chance  of  wrar,  (as  we  are  too  apt  to  express 
it,)  it  had  not  become  a  General  to  droop  thus 
under  it:  but  when  God  was  angry,  it  was  his  duty 
to  honour  and  feel  thus.  One  of  the  bravest  sol¬ 
diers  that  ever  was,  owned  that  his  flesh  trembled 
for  fear  of  God,  Ps.  119,  120.  As ‘one  humbling 
himself  under  the  mighty  hand  of  God,  he  fell  to 
the  earth  upon  his  face,  not  thinking  it  any  dispa¬ 
ragement  to  him  to  lie  thus  low  before  the  great 
God,  to  whom  he  directed  this  token  of  reverence, 
bv  keeping  his  eye  toward  the  ark  of  the  Lord. 
The  elders  of  Israel,  being  interested  in  the  cause, 
and  influenced  by  his  example,  prostrated  them¬ 
selves  with  him,  and,  in  token  of  deep  humiliation, 
put  dust  upon  their  heads,  not  only  as  mourners, 
but  as  penitents;  not  doubting  but  it  was  for  some 
sin  or  other,  that  God  did  thus  contend  with  them, 
(though  they  knew  not  what  it  was,)  they  humbled 
themselves  before  God,  and  thus  deprecated  the 
progress  of  his  wrath.  This  they  continued  until 
even-tide,  to  show  that  it  was  not  the  result  of  a 
sudden  feeling,  but  proceeded  from  a  deep  convic¬ 
tion  of  their  misery  and  danger  if  God  were  any 
way  provoked  to  depart  from  them.  Joshua  did 
not  fall  foul  upon  his  spies  for  their  misinformation 
concerning  the  strength  of  the  enemy,  nor  upon  the 
soldiers  for  their  cowardice,  though  perhaps  both 
were  blame-worthy,  but  his  eye  is  up  to  God;  for  is 
there  any  evil  in  the  camp,  and  he  has  not  done  it? 
His  eye  is  upon  God  as  displeased,  and  that  trou¬ 
bles  him. 

II.  How  he  prayed,  or  pleaded  rather,  humbly 
expostulating  the  case  with  God;  not  sullen,  as  Da¬ 
vid  when  the  Lord  had  made  a  breach  upon  Uzzah, 
but  much  affected;  his  spirit  seemed  to  be  some¬ 
what  ruffled  and  discomposed,  yet  not  so  as  to  be 
put  out  of  frame  for  prayer;  but  by  giving  vent  to 
his  trouble  in  an  humble  address  to  God,  he  keeps 
his  temper,  and  it  ends  well. 

1.  Now  he  wishes  they  had  all  taken  up  with  the 
lot  of  the  two  tribes  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  v.  7. 
He  thinks  it  had  been  better  to  have  stayed  there 
and  been  cut  short,  than  come  hither  to  be  cut  off. 
This  savours  too  much  of  discontent  and  distrust  of 
God,  and  cannot  be  justified,  though  the  surprise 
and  disappointment  to  one  deeply  concerned  for  the 
public  interest  may  in  part  excuse  it.  Those 
words,  Wherefore  hast  thou  brought  us  over  Jordan 
to  destroy  us?  are  too  like  what  the  murmurers  often 
said,  Exod.  14.  11,  12. — 16.  3. — 17.  3.  Numb.  14.  2, 
3.  but  he  that  searches  the  heart,  knew  they  came 
from  another  spirit,  and  therefore  was  not  extreme 
to  mark  what  he  said  amiss.  Had  Joshua  consider¬ 
ed  that  this  disorder  which  their  affairs  were  put 
into,  no  doubt,  proceeded  from  something  amiss, 
which  yet  might  easily  be  redressed,  and  all  set  to 
rights  again,  (as  often  in  his  predecessor’s  time)  he 
would  not  have  spoken  of  it  as  a  thing  taken  for 
granted,  that  they  were  delivered  into  the  hands  of 
the  Amorites  to  be  destroyed.  God  knows  what  he 
does,  though  we  do  not;  but  this  we  may  be  sure  of, 
he  never  did,  nor  ever  will,  do  us  any  wrong. 

2.  He  speaks  as  one  quite  at  a  loss  concerning  the 
meaning  of  this  event,  v.  8.  “  What  shall  L  say, 
what  construction  can  I  put  upon  it,  when  Lsrael, 
thy  own  people,  for  whom  thou  hast  lately  done 
such  great  things,  and  to  whom  thou  hast  promised 
the  full  possession  of  this  land,  when  they  turn 
their  backs  before  their  enemies ,”  (their  necks,  so 
the  word  is,)  “when  they  not  only  flee  before 
them,  but  fall  before  them,  and  become  a  prey  to 
them?  What  shall  we  think  of  the  divine  power, 
.Is  the  Lord’s  arm  shortened?  Of  the  divine  pro¬ 
mise  Is  his  word  yea  and  nay?  Of  what  God  has 


done  for  us.  Shall  that  be  all  undone  again  and 
prove  in  vain?”  Note,  The  methods  of  Providence 
are  often  intricate  and  perplexing,  and  such  as  the 
wisest  and  best  of  men  know  not  what  to  say  to;  but 
they  shall  know  hereafter,  John  13.  7. 

'  3.  He  pleads  the  danger  Israel  was  now  in  of 
being  ruined;  he  gives  up  all  for  gone.  “  The  Ca- 
naanites  shall  environ  us  round,  concluding  that, 
now  our  defence  being  departed,  and  the  scales 
turned  in  their  favour,  we  shall  be  in  their  eyes  as 
contemptible  as  ever  we  were  formidable,  and  they 
shall  cut  off  our  na??ie  from  the  earth,”  v.  9. 
Thus  even  good  men,  when  things  go  against  them 
a  little,  are  too  apt  to  fear  the  worst,  and  make 
harder  conclusions  than  there  is  reason  for.  But 
this  comes  in  here  as  a  plea;  “Lord,  let  not  Israel’s 
name,  which  has  been  so  dear  to  thee  and  so  great 
in  the  world,  be  cut  off.  ” 

4.  He  pleads  the  reproach  that  would  be  cast  on 
God,  and  that  if  Israel  were  ruined,  his  glory  would 
suffer  by  it.  They  will  cut  off  our  name,  says  he, 
yet  as  if  he  had  corrected  himself  for  insisting  upon 
that,  it  is  no  great  matter  (thinks  he)  what  comes 
of  our  little  name,  (the  cutting  off  of  that  will  be  a 
small  loss,)  but  what  wilt  thou  do  for  thy  great 
name?  This  he  looks  upon  and  laments  as  the 
great  aggravation  to  the  calamity,  he  feared  it 
would  reilect  on  God,  his  wisdom  and  power,  his 
goodness  and  faithfulness;  what  would  the  Egyptians 
say?  Note,  Nothing  is  more  grievous  to  a  gracious 
soul  than  dishonour  done  to  God’s  name.  This  also 
he  insists  upon  as  a  plea  for  the  preventing  of  his 
fears,  and  a  return  of  God’s  favour;  it  is  the  only 
word  in  all  his  address,  that  has  any  encouragement 
in  it,  and  he  concludes  with  it,  leaving  it  to  this 
issue.  Father,  glorify  thy  name.  The  name  of  God 
is  a  great  name,  above  every  name;  and  whatever 
happens,  we  ought  to  believe  that  he  will,  and  pray 
that  he  would,  woik  for  his  own  name,  that  that 
may  not  be  polluted.  This  should  be  our  concern 
more  than  any  thing  else,  on  this  we  must  fix  our 
eye  as  the  end  of  all  our  desires,  and  from  this  we 
must  fetch  our  encouragement  as  the  foundation  of 
all  our  hopes:  we  cannct  urge  a  better  plea  than 
this,  Lord,  what  wilt  thou  do  for  thy  great  name? 
Let  God  in  all  be  glorified,  and  then  welcome  Ids 
whole  will. 

10.  And  the  Loro  said  unto  Joshua, 
Get  thee  up  ;  wherefore  liest  thou  thus  upon 
thy  face  ?  11.  Israel  hath  sinned,  and  they 

have  also  transgressed  my  covenant  which 
I  commanded  them :  for  they  have  even 
taken  of  the  accursed  thing,  and  have  also 
stolen,  and  dissembled  also,  and  they  have 
put  it  even  among  their  own  stuff.  12. 
Therefore  the  children  of  Israel  could  not 
stand  before  their  enemies,  hit  turned  their 
backs  before  their  enemies,  because  they 
were  accursed  :  neither  will  I  be  with  you 
any  more,  except  ye  destroy  the  accursed 
from  among  you.  13.  Up,  sanctify  the  peo¬ 
ple,  and  say,  Sanctify  yourselves  against 
to-morrow  :  for  thus  saith  the  Lord  God  of 
Israel,  There  is  an  accursed  thing  in  the 
midst  of  thee,  O  Israel:  thou  canst  not 
stand  before  thine  enemies,  until  ye  take 
away  the  accursed  tiling  from  among  you. 
14.  In  the  morning  therefore  ye  shall  be 
brought  according  to  your  tribes :  and  it 
shall  be,  that  the  tribe  which  the  LcRn 


38 


JOSHUA,  VII. 


taketh  shall  come  according  to  the  families 
thereof',  and  the  family  which  the  Lord 
shall  take  shall  come  by  households;  and 
the  households  which  the  Lord  shall  take 
shall  come  man  by  man.  15.  And  it  shall 
be,  that  he  that  is  taken  with  the  accursed 
thing  shall  be  burnt  with  fire,  he  and  all 
that  he  hath  ;  because  he  hath  transgressed 
the  covenant  of  the  Lord,  and  because  he 
hath  wrought  folly  in  Israel. 

We  have  here  God’s  answer  to  Joshua’s  address, 
which,  we  may  suppose,  came  from  the  oracle  over 
the  ark,  before  which  Joshua  had  prostrated  him¬ 
self,  v.  6.  Those  that  desire  to  know  the  will  of 
Grd,  must  attend  with  their  desires  upon  the  lively 
oracles,  and  wait  at  wisdom’s  gates  for  wisdom’s 
dictates,  Prov.  8.  34.  And  let  those  that  find  them¬ 
selves  under  the  tokens  of  God’s  displeasure,  ne\  er 
complain  of  him,  but  complain  to  him,  and  they 
shall  receive  an  answer  of  peace.  The  answer 
came  immediately,  while  he  was  yet  speaking,  Isa. 
65.  24.  as  that  of  Daniel,  ch.  9.  20,  & c. 

I.  God  encourages  Joshua  against  his  present 
despondencies,  and  the  black  and  melancholy  ap¬ 
prehensions  he  had  of  the  present  posture  of  Is¬ 
rael’s  affairs,  v.  10,  “  Get  thee  up,  suffer  not  thy 
spirits  to  droop  and  sink  thus,  wherefore  liest  thou 
thus  upon  thy  face?  No  doubt,  Joshua  did  well  to 
humble  himseif  before  God,  and  mourn  as  he  did, 
under  the  tokens  of  his  displeasure;  but  now  God 
tells  him,  it  was  enough,  he  would  not  have  him 
continue  any  longer  in  that  melancholy  posture,  for 
God  delights  not  in  the  grief  of  penitents  when 
they  afflict  their  souls,  further  than  as  it  qualifies 
them  for  pardon  and  peace;  the  days  even  of  that 
mourning  must  be  ended.  Arise,  shake  thyself 
from  the  dust,  Isa.  52.  2.  Joshua  continued  his 
mourning  till  even-tide,  v.  6.  so  late,  that  they  could 
do  nothing  that  night  toward  the  discovery  of  the 
criminal,  but  were  forced  to  put  it  off  till  next 
morning.  Daniel  (ch.  9.  21.)  and  Ezra  (ch.  9.  5, 
6.)  continued  their  mourning  only  till  the  time  of 
the  evening  sacrifice ;  that  rev  ived  them  both,  but 
Joshua  went  past  that  time,  and  therefore  is  thus 
roused;  “  Get  thee  up,  do  not  lie  all  night  there.” 
Yet  we  find  that  Moses  fell  down  before  the  Lord 
forty  days  and  forty  nights,  to  make  intercession 
for  Israel,  Dent.  9.  18.  Joshua  must  get  up  be¬ 
cause  he  has  other  work  to  do  than  to  lie  there;  the 
accursed  thing  must  be  discovered  and  cast  out,  and 
the  sooner  the  better;  Joshua  is  the  man  that  must 
do  it,  and  therefore  it  is  time  for  him  to  lay  aside 
his  mourning  weeds,  and  put  on  his  judge’s  robes, 
and  clothe  himself  with  zeal  as  a  cloke;  weeping 
must  not  hinder  sowing,  nor  one  duty  of  religion 
justle  out  another.  Every  thing  is  beautiful  in  its 
season.  Shechaniah  perhaps  h  ul  an  eye  to  this  in 
what  he  said  to  Ezra  upon  a  like  occasion.  See 
Ezra  10.  2*  *4. 

II.  He  informs  him  of  the  true  and  only  cause  of 
this  disaster,  and  shows  him  wherefore  he  contend-  ! 
ed  with  them,  a'.  11,  Israel  hath  sinned.  “Think 
not  that  God’s  mind  is  changed,  his  arm  shortened, 
or  his  promise  about  to  fail;  no,  it  is  sin,  it  is  sin, 
that  great  mischief-maker,  that  has  stopped  the  cur¬ 
rent  of  divine  favours,  and  has  made  this  breach  upon 
vou.”  The  sinner  is  not  named,  though  the  sin 
Is  described;  but  it  is  spoken  of  as  the  act  of  Israel 
in  general,  till  they  have  fastened  it  upon  the  par¬ 
ticular  person,  and  their  godly  sorrow  have  so 
wrought  a  clearing  of  themselves,  as  the  r’s  did,  2 
Cor.  7.  11.  Observe  how  the  sin  is  here  made  to 
appear  exceeding  sinful.  1.  They  have  transgress-  I 


ed  my  covenant,  an  express  precept  with  a  penalty 
annexed  to  it.  It  was  agreed,  that  God  should  have 
all  the  spoil  of  Jericho,  and  they  should  have  the  spoil 
of  the  rest  of  the  cities  cf  Canaan,  but  in  robbing  Gcd 
of  his  part,  they  transgressed  this  covenant.  2. 
They  have  even  taken  of  the  devoted  thing ,  in  con¬ 
tempt  of  the  curse  which  was  so  solemnly  denoun¬ 
ced  against  him  that  should  dare  to  break  in  upon 
God’s  property,  as  if  that  curse  had  nothing  in  it 
formidable.  3.  They  have  also  stolen;  they  did  it 
clandestinely,  as  if  they  could  conceal  it  frem  the 
divine  omniscience,  and  they  were  ready  to  say, 
The  Lord  shall  not  see,  or  will  not  miss  so  small"  a 
matter  out  of  so  great  a  spoil.  Thus  thou  thought- 
est  I  was  altogether  such  a  one  as  thyself.  4.  They 
have  dissembled  also.  Probably,  when  the  action 
was  over,  Joshua  called  all  the  tribes,  and  asked 
them,  whether  they  had  faithfully  disposed  of  the 
spoil  according  to  the  divine  command,  and  char¬ 
ged  them,  if  they  knew  of  any  transgression,  they 
should  discover  it;  but  Achan  joined  with  the  rest  in 
a  general  protestation  of  innocency,  and  kept  his 
countenance,  like  the  adulterous  woman  that  eats 
and  wipes  her  mouth,  and  says,  I  have  done  no 
wickedness.  Nay,  5.  They  have  put  the  accursed 
thing  among  their  own  goods,  as  if  they  had  as  good 
a  title  to  that  as  to  any  thing  they  have;  never  ex¬ 
pecting  to  be  called  to  an  account,  nor  designing  to 
make  restitution.  All  this  Joshua,  though  a  wise  and 
vigilant  ruler,  knew  nothing  of,  till  God  told  him, 
who  knows  all  the  secret  wickedness  that  is  in  the 
world,  which  men  know  nothing  of.  God  could  at 
this  time  have  told  him  who  the  person  was  that 
had  done  this  thing,  but  does  not.  (1.)  To  exercise 
the  zeal  of  Joshua  and  Israel,  in  searching  out  the 
criminal.  (2.)  To  give  the  sinner  himself  space  to 
repent  and  make  confession.  Joshua,  no  dcubt, 
proclaimed  immediately  throughout  the  camp,  tin  t 
there  was  such  a  transgression  committed,  up'  n 
which,  if  Achan  had  surrendered  himself,  and  peni¬ 
tently  owned  his  guilt,  and  prevented  the  scrutiny, 
who  knows  but  he  might  have  had  the  benefit  of 
that  law  which  accepted  of  a  trespass-offering,  with 
restitution,  from  those  that  had  sinned  through  ig¬ 
norance  in  the  holy  things  of  the  law?  Lev.  5.  15, 
16.  But  Achan  never  discovering  himself  till  the 
lot  discovered  him,  evinced  the  hardness  cf  his 
heart,  and  therefore  he  found  no  mercy. 

III.  He  awakens  him  to  inquire  further  into  it, 
by  telling  him,  1.  That  this  was  the  only  ground 
for  the  controversy  God  had  with  them;  this,  and 
nothing  else;  so  that  when  this  accursed  thing  was 
put  away,  he  needed  not  fear,  all  would  be  well,  the 
stream  of  their  successes,  when  this  one  obstruction 
was  removed,  would  run  as  strong  as  ever.  2.  That 
if  this  accursed  thing  were  not  destroyed,  they 
could  not  expect  the  return  of  God’s  gracious  pre¬ 
sence;  in  plain  terms,  neither  will  1  be  with  you  am/ 
more  as  I  have  been,  except  ye  destroy  the  accursed, 
that  is,  the  accursed  person,  who  is  made  so  by  the 
accursed  thing.  That  which  is  accursed,  will  be 
destroyed;  and  they  whom  God  has  intrusted  to 
bear  the  sword,  bear  it  in  vain,  if  they  make  it  not 
a  terror  to  that  wickedness  which  brings  these 
judgments  of  God  on  a  land.  By  personal  repent¬ 
ance  and  reformation,  we  destroy  the  accursed  thing 
in  our  own  hearts,  and  unless  we  do  that,  we  must 
never  expect  the  favour  of  the  blessed  God.  Let 
all  men  know  that  it  is  nothing  but  sin  that  separates 
between  them  and  God,  and  if  that  be  not  sincerely 
repented  of  and  forsaken,  it  will  separate  eternally. 

IV.  He  directs  him  in  what  method  to  make  this 
inquiry  and  prosecution.  1.  He  must  sanctify  the 
people,  now  over-night,  that  is,  as  it  is  explained* 
he  must  command  them  to  sanctify  themselves,  v. 
13.  And  wh  it  can  either  magistrates  or  ministers 

1  do  more  toward  sanctification?  They  must  put 


39 


JOSHUA,  VII. 


themselves  into  a  suitable  frame  to  appear  before 
God,  and  submit  to  the  divine  scrutiny;  must  ex¬ 
amine  themselves,  now  that  God  was  coming  to 
examine  them;  must  prepare  to  meet  their  God. 
They  were  called  to  sanctify  themselves,  when  they 
were  to  receive  the  divine  law,  Exod.  19.  and  now 
also  when  they  were  to  come  under  the  divine  judg¬ 
ment;  for  in  both  God  is  to  be  attended  with  the  ut¬ 
most  reverence.  There  is  an  accursed  thing  in  the 
midst  of  thee,  and  therefore  sanctify  yourselves,  that 
is,  “Let  all  that  are  innocent,  be  able  to  clear 
themselves,  and  be  the  more  careful  to  cleanse 
themselves:  the  sins  of  others  may  be  improved  by 
us,  as  furtherances  of  our  sanctification,  as  the  scan¬ 
dal  of  the  incestuous  Corinthian  occasioned  a  bless¬ 
ed  reformation  in  that  church,  2  Cor.  7.  11.  2.  He 

must  bring  them  all  under  the  scrutiny  of  the  lot,  x». 
14.  the  tribe  which  the  guilty  person  was  of,  should 
first  be  discovered  by  lot,  then  the  family,  then 
the  household,  and  last  of  all  the  person.  The 
conviction  came  upon  him  thus  gradually,  that  he 
might  have  some  space  given  him  to  come  in  and 
surrender  himself;  for  God  is  not  willing  that  any 
should  perish,  but  that  all  should  come  to  repen't- 
ance.  Observe,  The  Lord  is  said  to  take  the  tribe, 
and  family,  and  household,  on  which  the  lot  fell; 
because  the  disposal  of  the  lot  is  of  the  Lord,  and 
however  casual  it  seems,  is  under  the  direction  of 
infinite  wisdom  and  justice;  and  to  show,  that  when 
the  sin  of  sinners  finds  them  out,  God  is  to  be  ac¬ 
knowledged  in  it;  it  is  he  that  seizes  them,  and  the 
arrests  are  in  his  name.  God  hath  found  out  the 
iniquity  of  thy  servants,  Gen.  44.  16.  It  is  also  in¬ 
timated  with  what  a  certain  and  unerring  judgment 
the  righteous  God  does  and  will  distinguish  between 
the  innocent  and  the  guilty,  so  that  though  fora 
time  they  seem  involved  in  the  same  condemnation, 
as  the  whole  tribe  did,  when  it  was  first  taken  by 
the  lot,  yet  he  who  has  his  fan  in  his  hand,  will  ef¬ 
fectually  provide  for  the  taking  out  of  the  precious 
from  the  vile-,  so  that  though  the  righteous  be  of  the 
same  tribe,  and  family,  and  household,  with  the 
wicked,  yet  they  shall  never  be  treated  as  the  wick¬ 
ed,  Gen.’  18.  25.  3.  When  the  criminal  was  found 

out,  he  must  be  put  to  death  without  mercy,  (Heb. 
10.  28.)  and  with  all  the  expressions  of  a  holy  de¬ 
testation,  v.  15.  He  and  all  that  he  has,  must  be 
burnt  with  fire,  that  there  might  be  no  remainders 
of  the  accursed  thing  among  them;  and  the  reason 
given  for  this  severe  sentence,  is,  because  the  cri¬ 
minal  has,  (1.)  Given  a  great  affront  to  God,  he 
has  transgressed  the  covenant  of  the  Lord,  who  is 
jealous  particularly  for  the  honour  of  the  holy  co¬ 
venant.  (2.)  He  has  done  a  great  injury  to  the 
church  of  God,  he  has  wrought  folly  in  Israel,  has 
shamed  that  nation  which  is  looked  upon  by  all  its 
neighbours  to  be  a  wise  and  an  understanding 
people;  has  infected  that  nation  which  is  sanctified 
to  God,  and  troubled  that  nation  of  which  He  is  the 
Protector.  These  being  crimes  so  heinous  in  their 
nature,  and  of  such  pernicious  consequence  and  ex¬ 
ample,  the  execution,  which  otherwise  would  have 
come  under  the  imputation  of  cruelty,  is  to  be  ap¬ 
plauded  as  a  piece  of  necessary  justice.  It  was  Sa¬ 
crilege,  it  was  invading  God’s  rights,  alienating  his 
property,  and  converting  to  a  private  use  that  which 
was  devoted  to  his  glory,  and  appropriated  to  the 
service  of  his  sanctuary — this  was  the  crime  to  be 
thus  severely  punished,  for  warning  to  all  people  in 
all  ages  to  take  heed  how  they  rob  God. 

16.  So  Joshua  rose  up  early  in  the  morn¬ 
ing,  and  brought  [srael  by  their  tribes  ;  and 
the  tribe  of  Judah  was  taken  :  17.  And  he 

brought  the  family  of  Judah;  and  he  took 
the  family  of  the  Zarhites  :  and  he  brought 


the  family  of  the  Zarhites  man  by  man  ; 
and  Zabdi  was  taken  :  1 8.  And  he  brought 

his  household  man  by  man  ;  and  Achan, 
the  son  of  Carmi,  the  son  of  Zabdi,  the  son 
ol  Zerah,  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  was  taken. 
19.  And  Joshua  said  unto  Achan,  My  son 
give,  I  pray  thee,  glory  to  the  Lord  God  of 
Israel,  and  make  confession  unto  him ;  and 
:  tell  me  now  what  thou  hast  done  ;  hide  it  not 
from  me.  20.  And  Achan  answered  Joshua 
and  said,  Indeed  I  have  sinned  against  the 
Lord  God  of  Israel,  and  thus  and  thus 
have  I  done:  21.  When  I  saw  among  the 
spoils  a  goodly  Babylonish  garment,  and 
two  hundred  shekels  of  silver,  and  a  wedge 
of  gold  of  fifty  shekels  weight,  then  1  covet¬ 
ed  them,  and  took  them ;  and,  behold,  thev 
are  hid  in  the  earth  in  the  midst  of  my  tent, 
and  the  silver  under  it.  22.  So  Joshua  sent 
messengers,  and  they  ran  unto  the  tent ; 
and,  behold,  it  was  hid  in  his  tent,  and  the 
silver  under  it.  23.  And  they  took  them 
out  of  the  midst  of  the  tent,  anil  brought 
them  unto  Joshua,  and  unto  all  the  children 
of  Israel,  and  laid  them  out  before  the 
Lord.  24.  And  Joshua,  and  all  Israel 
with  him,  took  Achan,  the  son  of  Zerah, 
and  the  silver,  and  the  garment,  and  the 
wedge  of  gold,  and  his  sons,  and  his  daugh¬ 
ters,  and  his  oxen,  and  his  asses,  and  his 
sheep,  and  his  tent,  and  all  that  he  had : 
and  they  brought  them  unto  the  valley  of 
Achor.  25.  And  Joshua  said,  Why  hast 
thou  troubled  us?  the  Lord  shall  trouble 
thee  this  day.  And  all  Israel  stoned  him 
with  stones,  and  burned  them  with  fire  after 
they  had  stoned  them  with  stones.  26.  And 
they  raised  over  him  a  great  heap  of  stones 
unto  this  day.  So  the  Lord  turned  from 
the  fierceness  of  his  anger.  Wherefore  the 
name  of  that  place  was  called,  The  valley 
of  Achor,  unto  this  day. 

We  have  in  these  verses, 

I.  The  discovery  of  Achan  by  the  lot,  which 
proved  a  perfect  lot,  though  it  proceeded  gradual¬ 
ly.  Though  we  may  suppose  that  Joshua  slept 
the  better,  and  with  more  ease  and  satisfaction, 
when  he  knew  the  worst  of  the  disease  of  that  body, 
which,  under  God,  he  was  the  head  of,  and  which 
was  put  into  a  certain  method  of  cure,  yet  he  rose 
up  early  in  the  morning,  v.  16.  so  much  was  his 
heart  upon  it,  to  put  away  the  accursed  thing.  We 
have  found  Joshua  upon  other  occasions  an  early 
riser,  here,  it  shows  his  zeal  and  vehement  desire 
to  see  Israel  restored  to  the  divine  favour.  In  the 
scrutiny  observe,  1.  That  the  guilty  tribe  was  that 
of  Judah,  which  was,  and  was  to  be,  of  all  the 
tribes  the  most  honourable  and  illustrious;  this  was 
an  allay  to  their  dignity,  and  might  serve  as  a  check 
to  their  pride:  many  there  were,  who  were  its  glo¬ 
ries,  but  here  was  one  that  was  its  reproach.  Let 
not  the  best  families  think  it  strange,  if  there  be 
those  found  in  them,  and  descending  from  them,  that 
prove  their  grief  and  shame.  Judah  was  to  have 


40 


JOSHUA,  VII. 


the  first  and  largest  lot  in  Canaan,  the  more  inex¬ 
cusable  is  one  of  that  tribe,  if,  not  content  to  wait  for 
his  own  share,  he  break  in  upon  God’s  property. 
The  Jews’  tradition  is,  that  when  the  tribe  of  Ju¬ 
dah  was  taken,  the  valiant  men  of  that  tribe  drew 
their  swords,  and  professed  they  would  not  sheathe 
them  again  till  they  saw  the  criminal  punished,  and 
themselves  cleared  who  knew  their  own  innocency. 
2.  That  the  guilty  person  was  at  length  fastened 
upon,  and  the  language  of  the  lot  was,  Thou  art  the 
man,  v.  18.  It  was  strange  that  Achan,  being  con¬ 
scious  to  himself  of  guilt,  when  he  saw  the  lot  come 
nearer  and  nearer  to  him,  had  not  either  the  wit  to 
make  an  escape,  or  the  grace  to  make  a  confession; 
but  his  heart  was  hardened  through  the  deceitful¬ 
ness  of  sin,  and  it  proved  to  be  to  his  own  destruc¬ 
tion.  We  may  well  imagine  how  his  countenance 
changed,  and  what  horror  and  confusion  seized  him 
when  he  was  singled  out  as  the  delinquent,  when 
the  eyes  of  all  Israel  were  fastened  upon  him, 
and  every  one  was  re  idy  to  say,  Have  we  found 
thee,  0  our  enemy?  See  here,  (1.)  The  folly  of 
those  that  promise  themselves  secrecy  in  sin;  the 
righteous  God  has  many  ways  of  bringing  to  light 
the  hidden  works  of  darkness,  and  so  bringing  to 
shame  and  ruin  those  that  continue  their  fellowship 
with  those  unfruitful  works.  A  bird  of  the  air, 
when  God  pleases,  shall  carry  the  voice,  Eccl.  10. 
20.  See  Ps.  94.  7,  i Vc.  (2.)  How  much  it  is 
our  concern,  when  God  is  contending  with  us, 
to  find  out  what  the  cause  of.  action  is,  what  the 
particular  sin  is,  that,  like  Achan,  troubles  our 
c  mp.  We  must  thus  examine  ourselves  and  care¬ 
fully  review  the  records  of  conscience,  that  we  may 
find  out  the  accursed  thing,  and  pray  earnestly 
with  holy  Job,  Lord,  show  me  wherefore  thou  con- 
t  ndest  with  me.  Disco  ,  er  the  traitor,  and  he  shall 
r.o  longer  be  harboured. 

II.  His  arraignment  and  examination,  v.  19. 
Joshua  sits  judge,  and  though  abundantly  satisfied 
of  his  guilt  hv  the  determination  of  the  lot,  yet  urges 
him  to  make  a  penitent  confession,  that  his  soul 
might  be  saved  bv  it  in  the  other  world,  though  he 
could  not  give  him  any  encouragement  to  hope  that 
he  shou’d  save  his  life  by  it.  Observe,  1.  How  he 
accosts  him, with  the  vreatest  mildness  and  tender¬ 
ness  that  could  be,  like  a  true  disciple  of  Moses. 
He  might  justly  have  called  him  “thief,”  and 
“rebel,”  “Raca,”and  “thou  fool,”  but  he  calls 
him  “  son;”  he  might  have  adjured  him  to  confess, 
as  the  High  Priest  did  our  blessed  Saviour,  or 
threatened  him  with  the  torture  to  extort  a  con¬ 
fession,  but  for  love’s  sake  he  rather  beseeches  him, 
I pray  thee,  make  conf  ssion.  This  is  an  example 
to  all,  not  to  insult  over  those  that  are  in  misery, 
though  thev  have  brought  themselves  into  it  by 
their  own  wickedness,  but  to  treat  even  offenders 
with  the  spirit  of  meekness,  not  knowing  what  we 
oursch  es  should  have  been  and  done,  if  God  had 
put  us  into  the  hand  of  our  own  counsels.  It  is  like¬ 
wise  an  example  to  magistrates,  in  executing  justice, 
to  govern  their  own  passions  with  a  strict  and  pru¬ 
dent  hand,  and  never  suffer  themselves  to  be  trans¬ 
ported  bv  them  into  any  indecencies  of  behaviour 
or  language,  no,  not  towards  those  that  have  given 
the  greatest  provocations.  The  wrath  of  man  work- 
eth  not  the  righteousness  of  God.  Let  them  re¬ 
member  the  judgment  is  God’s,  who  is  Lord  of  his 
anger.  This  is  the  likeliest  method  of  bringing  of¬ 
fenders  to  repentance.  2.  What  he  wishes  him  to  do; 
to  confess  the  fact,  to  confess  it  to  God,  the  party 
offended  bv  the  crime;  Joshua  was  to  him  in  God’s 
stead,  so  that  in  confessing  to  him,  he  confessed  to 
God.  Hereby  he  would  satisfy  Joshua  and  the 
congregation  concerning  that  which  was  laid  .to  his 
charge;  his  confession  would  also  be  an  e\  idence  of 
his  repentance,  and  a  warning  to  others  to  take 


heed  of  sinning  after  the  similitude  of  his  trans 
gression:  but  that  which  Joshua  aims  at  herein,  is, 
that  God  might  be  honoured  by  it  as  the  Lord, 
the  God  of  infinite  knowledge  and  power,  from 
whom  no  secrets  are  hid;  and  as  the  God  of  Israel, 
who  as  he  does  particularly  resent  affronts  given 
to  his  Israel,  so  he  does  the  affronts  given  him  by 
Israel.  Note,  In  confessing  sin,  as  we  take  shame 
to  ourselves,  so  we  give  glory  to  God,  as  a  righteous 
God,  owning  him  justly  displeased  with  us,  and  as  a 
good  God  who  will  not  improve  our  confessions  as 
evidences  against  us,  but  is  faithful  and  just  to  for¬ 
give,  when  we  are  brought  to  own  that  he  would  be 
faithful  and  just  if  he  should  punish.  By  sin  we  have 
injured  God  in  his  honour;  Christ  by  h:s  death  has 
made  satisfaction  for  the  injury:  but  it  is  required, 
that  we  by  repentance  show  our  good-will  to  his 
honour,  and,  as  far  as  in  us  lies,  give  glory  to  him. 
Bishop  Patrick  quotes  the  Samaritan  chronicle, 
making  Joshua  to  say  here  to  Achan,  Lift  up  thine 
eyes  to  the  King  of  heaven  and  earth,  and  acknow¬ 
ledge  that  nothing  can  be  hid  from  him  who  knoweth 
the  greatest  secrets. 

III.  His  confession,  which,  now  at  last,  when  he 
saw  it  was  to  no  purpose  to  conceal  his  crime,  was 
free  and  ingenuous  enough,  v.  20,  21.  Here  is, 

1.  A  penitent  acknowledgment  of  the  fault. 
“Indeed  I  have  sinned,  what  I  am  charged  with  is 
too  true  to  be  denied,  and  too  bad  to  be  excused.  I 
own  it,  I  lament  it;  the  Lord  is  righteous  in  bring¬ 
ing  it  to  light,  for  indeed  I  have  sinned.”  This  is 
the  language  of  a  penitent  that  is  sick  of  his  sin, 
and  whose  conscience  is  loaded  with  it.  “I  have 
nothing  to  accuse  any  one  else  of,  but  a  great  deal 
to  say  against  myself;  it  is  with  me  that  the  ac¬ 
cursed  thing  is  found,  I  am  the  man  who  have 
perverted  that  which  was  right,  and  it  profited 
me  not.”  And  that  wherewith  he  aggravates  the 
sin,  is,  that  it  was  committed  against  the  Lord 
God  of  Israel.  He  was  himself  an  Israelite,  a 
sharer  with  the  rest  of  that  exalted  nation  in  their 
privileges,  so  that,  in  offending  the  God  of  Israel, 
he  offended  his  own  God,  which  laid  him  under 
the  guilt  of  the  basest  treachery  and  ingratitude 
imaginable. 

2.  A  particular  narrative  of  the  fact,  Thus  and 
thus  have  I  done.  God  had  told  Joshua  in  general, 
that  a  part  of  the  devoted  things  was  alienated,  but 
leaves  it  to  him  to  draw  from  Achan  an  account  of 
the  particulars;  for,  one  way  or  other,  God  will 
make  sinners’  own  tongues  to  fall  upon  themselves, 
(Ps.  64.  8.)  if  ever  he  bring  them  to  repentance, 
they  will  be  their  own  accusers,  and  their  awaken¬ 
ed  consciences  will  be  instead  of  a  thousand  wit¬ 
nesses.  Note,  It  becomes  penitents,  in’ the  confes¬ 
sion  of  their  sin  to  God,  to  be  very  particular;  not 
only,  “  I  have  sinned,”  but,  “  In  this  and  that  in¬ 
stance  I  have  sinned  ;”  reflecting  with  regret  upon 
all  the  steps  that  led  to  the  sin,  and  all  the  circum¬ 
stances  that  aggravated  it  and  made  it  exceeding 
sinful;  thus  and  thus  have  I  done.  He  confesses, 

1.)  Tathe  things  taken.  In  plundering  a  house  in 
ericho  he  found  a  goodly  Babylonish  garment;  the 
word  signifies  a  robe,  such  as  princes  wore  when 
they  appeared  in  state,  probably  it  belonged  to  the 
king  of  Jericho;  it  was  far-fetched,  if  fetched,  as 
we  translate  it,  from  Babylon.  A  garment  of  di¬ 
vers  colours,  so  some  render  it;  whatever  it  was, 
in  his  eyes  it  made  a  glorious  show;  “  A  thousand 
pities”  (thinks  Achan)  “that  it  should  be  burnt, 
then  it  will  do  nobody  any  good,  if  I  take  it  for  my¬ 
self,  it  will  serve  me  many  a  year  for  my  best  gar¬ 
ment.”  Under  these  pretences,  he  makes  hold 
with  this  first,  and  thinks  it  no  harm  to  save  it  from 
the  fire;  but  his  hand  being  thus  in,  he  proceeds  to 
take  a  bag  of  money,  two  hundred  shekels,  that  is, 
one  hundred  ounces  of  silver,  and  a  wedge  of  gda 


JOSHUA,  VII.  41 


which  weighed  fifty  shekels,  that  is,  twenty-five 
ounces.  He  could  not  plead  that,  in  taking  these, 
he  saved  them  from  the  fire,  (for  the  silver  and 
gold  were  to  be  laid  up  in  the  treasury,  J  but  they 
that  make  a  slight  excuse  to  serve  in  daring  to 
commit  one  sin,  will  have  their  hearts  so  hardened 
by  that,  that  they  will  venture  upon  the  next  with¬ 
out  such  an  excuse,  for  the  way  of  sin  is  down-hill. 
See  what  a  poor  prize  it  was  for  which  Achan  ran 
thisdesperate  hazard, and  what  an  unspeakable  loser 
he  was  by  the  bargain.  See  Matt.  16.  26.  (2.)  He 
confesses  the  manner  of  taking  them.  [1.]  The  sin 
began  in  the  eye.  He  saw  these  fine  things,  as  Eve 
saw  the  forbidden  fruit,  and  was  strangely  charmed 
with  the  sight.  See  what  comes  of  suffering  the 
heart  to  walk  after  the  eyes,  and  what  need  we 
have  to  make  this  covenant  with  our  eyes,  that  if 
they  wander,  they  shall  be  sure  to  weep  for  it. 
Look  not  thou  ufion  the  wine  that  is  red,  upon  the 
woman  that  is  fair;  close  the  right  eye  that  thus  of¬ 
fends  thee,  to  prevent  the  necessity  of  plucking  it 
out,  and  casting  it  from  thee,  Matt.  5.  28,  29.  [2.] 
It  proceeded  out  of  the  heart.  He  OAvns,  I  coveted 
them.  Thus  lust  conceived  and  brought  forth  this 
sin.  They  that  would  be  kept  from  sinful  actions, 
must  mortify  and  check  in  themselves  sinful  de¬ 
sires,  particularly  the  desire  of  worldly  wealth, 
which  we  more  particularly  call  covetousness.  O 
what  a  world  of  evil  is  the  love  of  money  the  root 
of  !  Had  Achan  looked  upon  these  things  with  an 
eye  of  faith,  he  would  have  seen  them  accursed 
things,  and  would  have  dreaded  them,  but  looking 
upon  them  with  an  eye  of  sense  only,  he  saw  them 
goodly  things,  and  coveted  them.  It  was  not  the 
looking,  but  the  lusting,  that  ruined  him.  [3.] 
When  he  had  committed  it,  he  was  very  industri¬ 
ous  to  conceal  it.  Having  taken  of  the  forbidden 
treasures,  fearing  lest  any  search  should  be  made 
fir  prohibited  goods,  he  hid  them  in  the  earth,  as 
one  that  resolved  to  keep  what  he  had  gotten,  and 
never  to  make  restitution.  Thus  does  Achan  con¬ 
fess  the  whole  matter,  that  God  might  be  justified 
in  the  sentence  passed  upon  him.  See  the  deceit¬ 
fulness  of  sin;  that  which  is  pleasing  in  the  com¬ 
mission,  is  bitter  in  the  reflection,  at  the  last  it  bites 
like  a  serpent.  Particularly,  see  what  comes  of  ill- 
gotten  goods,  and  how  they  will  be  cheated  that 
rob  God,  Job.  20.  15,  He  hath  swallowed  down 
riches,  and  he  shall  vomit  them  up  again. 

IV.  His  conviction.  God  had  convicted  him  by 
the  lot,  he  had  convicted  himself  by  his  own  con¬ 
fession;  but  that  no  room  might  be  left  for  the  most 
discontented  Israelite  to  object  against  the  process, 
Joshua  has  him  further  convicted  by  the  searching 
of  his  tent,  in  which  the  goods  were  found  which 
he  confessed  to.  Particular  notice  is  taken  of  the 
haste  which  the  messengers  made,  that  were  sent 
to  search,  they  ran  to  the  tent,  v.  22.  Not  only  to 
show  their  readiness  to  obey  Joshua’s  orders,  but 
to  show  how  uneasy  they  were  till  the  camp  was 
cleared  of  the  accursed  thing,  that  they  might  re¬ 
gain  the  divine  favour.  They  that  feel  themselves 
under  wrath,  find  themselves  concerned  not  to  de¬ 
fer  the  putting  away  of  sin.  Delays  are  dangerous, 
and  it  is  no  time  to  trifle.  When  the  stolen  goods 
were  brought,  they  were  laid  out  before  the  Lord, 
v.  23.  that  all  Israel  might  see  how  plain  the  evi¬ 
dence  was  against  Achan,  and  might  adore  the 
strictness  of  God’s  judgments  in  punishing  so  se¬ 
verely  the  stealing  of  such  small  things,  and  yet  the 
justice  of  his  judgments  in  maintaining  his  right  to 
devoted  things,  and  might  be  afraid  of  ever  offend¬ 
ing  in  the  like  kind.  In  laying  them  out  before  the 
Lord,  they  acknowledged  his  title  to  them,  and 
waited  to  receive  his  directions  concerning  them. 
Note,  Those  that  think  to  put  a  cheat  upon  God, 
do  but  deceive  themselves;  what  is  taken  from 

Vor.  it. — F 


him,  he  will  recover,  Hos.  2.  9.  and  he  will  be  a 
loser  by  no  man  at  last. 

V.  His  condemnation.  Joshua  passes  sentenc** 
upon  him,  v.  25,  Why  hast  thou  troubled  us? 
There  is  the  ground  of  the  sentence,  O,  how  much 
hast  thou  troubled  us?  So  some  read  it.  He  refers 
to  what  was  said  when  the  warning  was  given  not 
to  meddle  with  the  accursed  thing,  ch.  6.  18,  lest  ye 
make  the  camp  of  Israel  a  curse,  and  trouble  it. 
Note,  Sin  is  a  very  troublesome  thing,  not  only  to  a 
sinner  himself,  but  to  all  about  him.  He  that  is 
greedy  of  gain,  as  Achan  was,  troubles  his  own 
house,  Prov.  15.  27.  and  all  the  communities  he  be¬ 
longs  to.  Now  (says  Joshua)  God  shall  trouble 
thee.  See  why  Achan  was  so  severely  dealt  with, 
not  only  because  he  had  robbed  God,  but  because 
he  had  troubled  Israel;  over  his  head  he  had  (as 
it  were)  this  accusation  written',  Achan,  the  trou- 
bler  of  Israel,  asAhab,  livings  18.  18.  This  there¬ 
fore  is  his  dorm,  God  shall  trouble  thee.  Note, 
The  righteous  God  will  certainly  recompense  tribu¬ 
lation  to  them  that  trouble  his  people,  2  Thess.  1. 
6.  Those  that  are  troublesome,  shall  be  troubled. 
Some  of  the  Jewish  doctors,  from  that  word,  which 
determines  the  troubling  of  him  to  this  day,  infer, 
that  therefore  he  should  not  be  troubled  in  the 
world  to  come;  the  flesh  was  destroyed,  that  the 
spirit  might  be  saved,  and  if  so,  the  dispensation 
was  really  less  severe  than  it  seemed.  In  the  de¬ 
scription,  both  of  his  sin  and  of  his  punishment,  by 
the  trouble  that  was  in  both,  there  is  a  plain  allu¬ 
sion  to  his  name  Achan,  or,  as  he  is  called,  1  Chron. 
2.  7,  Achar,  which  signifies  trouble.  He  did  too 
much  answer  his  name. 

VI.  His  execution.  No  repriev  e  could  be  ob¬ 
tained,  a  gangrened  member  must  be  cut  off  im¬ 
mediately.  When  he  is  proved  to  be  an  anathema, 
and  the  troubler  of  the  camp,  we  may  suppose  all 
the  people  cry  out  aga'nst  him,  Away  with  him, 
away  with  him!  Stone  him,  stone  him!  Here  is, 

1.  The  place  of  execution:  they  brought  him  out 
of  the  camp,  in  token  of  their  putting  far  from  them 
that  wicked  person,  1  Cor.  5.  13.  When  cur  Lord 
Jesus  was  made  a  curse  for  us,  that  by  his  trouble 
we  might  have  peace,  he  suffered  as  an  accursed 
thing  without  the  gate,  bearing  our  reproach,  Heb. 
13.  12,  13.  The  execution  was  at  a  distance,  that 
the  camp  which  was  disturbed  by  Achan’s  sin, 
might  net  be  defiled  by  his  death. 

2.  The  persons  employed  in  his  execution;  it  was 
the  act  of  all  Israel,  v.  24,  25.  They  were  all  spec¬ 
tators  of  it,  that  they  might  see  and  fear.  Public 
executions  are  public  examples.  Nay,  they  were 
all  consenting  to  his  death,  and  as  rm  nyas  could, 
were  active  in  it,  in  token  of  the  universal  detesta¬ 
tion  in  which  they  held  his  sacrilegious  attempt, 
and  their  dread  of  God’s  displeasure  against  them. 

3.  The  partakers  with  him  in  the  punishment; 
for  he  perished  not  alone  in  his  iniquity,  ch.  22.  20. 
(1.)  The  stolen  goods  were  destroyed  with  him,  the 
garment  burnt,  as  it  should  have  been  with  the  rest 
of  the  combustible  things  in  Jericho,  and  the  silver 
and  gold  defaced,  melted,  lost,  and  buried,  in  the 
ashes  of  the  rest  of  his  goods,  under  the  heap  of 
stones,  so  as  never  to  be  put  to  any  other  use.  (2. ) 
All  his  other  goods  were  destroyed  likewise,  not 
only  his  tent,  and  the  furniture  of  that,  but  his 
oxen,  asses,  and  sheep;  to  show,  that  goods  gotten 
unjustly,  especially  if  they  be  gotten  by  sacrilege, 
will  not  only  turn  to  no  account,  but  will  blast  and 
waste  the  rest  of  the  possessions  to  which  they  are 
added.  The  eagle  in  the  fable,  that  stole  flesh 
from  the  altar,  brought  a  coal  of  fire  with  it,  which 
burnt  her  nest,  Hab.  2.  9,  10.  Zech.  5.  3,  4.  They 
lose  their  own,  that  grasp  at  more  than  their  own. 
(3.)  His  sons  and  daughters  were  put  to  death  with 
hiu.-  Some  indeed  think  that  they  were  brought 


42 


JOSHUA,  VIII. 


out,  (z>.  24.)  only  to  be  the  spectators  of  their  fa¬ 
ther’s  punishment,  but  most  conclude  that  they 
died  with  him,  and  that  they  must  be  meant,  v. 
25.  where  it  is  said,  they  burned  them  with  fire 
after  they  had  stoned  them  with  stones.  God  had 
expressly  provided  that  magistrates  should  not  put 
'he  children  to  death  for  the  father’s  sins;  but  he 
did  not  intend  to  bind  himself  by  that  law,  and  in 
this  case  he  had  expressly  ordered,  v.  15.  that  the 
criminal  and  all  that  he  had,  should  be  burnt.  Per¬ 
haps  his  sons  and  daughters  were  aiders  and  abettors 
in  the  villany,  had  helped  to  carry  off  the  accursed 
things.  It  is  very  probable  that  they  assisted  in 
the  concealment,  and  that  he  could  not  hide  them 
in  the  midst  of  his  tent,  but  they  must  know  and 
keep  his  counsel,  and  so  they  became  accessaries  ex 
fiost  facto — after  the  fact;  and  if  they  were  ever  so 
little  partakers  in  the  crime,  it  was  so  heinous, 
that  they  were  justly  sharers  in  the  punishment. 
However,  God  was  hereby  glorified,  and  the  judg¬ 
ment  executed  was  thus  made  the  more  tremen¬ 
dous. 

4.  The  punishment  itself  that  was  inflicted  on 
him;  he  was  stoned,  some  think,  as  a  sabbath- 
breaker,  supposing  that  the  sacrilege  was  commit¬ 
ted  on  the  sabbath-day;  and  then  his  dead  body 
was  burnt  as  an  accursed  thing,  of  which  there 
should  be  no  remainder  left.  The  concurrence  of 
all  the  people  in  this  execution,  teaches  us  how 
much  it  is  the  interest  of  a  nation,  that  all  in  it 
should  contribute  what  they  can,  in  their  places,  to 
the  suppression  of  vice  and  profaneness,  and  the 
reformation  of  manners;  sin  is  a  reproach  to  any 
people,  and  therefore  every  Israelite  indeed  will 
have  a  stone  to  throw  at  it. 

5.  The  pacifying  of  God’s  wrath  hereby,  v.  26, 
The  Lord  turned  from  the  fierceness  of  his  anger. 
The  putting  away  of  sin  by  true  repentance  and  re¬ 
formation,  as  it  is  the  only  way,  so  it  is  a  sure  and 
most  effectual  way,  to  recover  the  divine  favour. 
Take  away  the  cause,  and  the  effect  will  cease. 

VII.  The  record  of  his  conviction  and  execution; 
care  was  taken  to  preserve  the  remembrance  of  it, 
for  warning  and  instruction  to  posterity:  1.  A  heap 
of  stones  was  raised  on  the  place  where  Achan 
was  executed,  every  one  perhaps  of  the  congre¬ 
gation  throwing  a  stone  at  the  heap,  in  token 
of  his  detestation  of  the  crime.  2.  A  new  name 
was  given  to  the  place;  it  was  called,  the  Valley  of 
Achor,  or  Trouble.  This  was  a  perpetual  brand 
of  infamy  upon  Achan’s  name,  and  a  perpetual 
warning  to  all  people  not  to  invade  God’s  property. 
By  this  severity  against  Achan,  the  honour  of  Josh¬ 
ua’s  government,  now  in  the  infancy  of  it,  was 
maintained,  and  Israel,  at  their  entrance  upon  the 
promised  Canaan,  were  minded  to  observe,  at  their 
peril,  the  provisos  and  limitations  of  the  grant  by 
which  they  held  it.  The  Valley  of  Achor  is  said 
to  be  given  for  a  door  of  hope,  because  when  we 
ut  away  the  accursed  thing,  then  there  begins  to 
e  hope  in  Israel,  Hos.  2  15.  Ezra  10.  2. 

CHAP.  VIII. 

The  embarrassment  which  Achan’s  sin  gave  to  the  affairs 
of  Israel  being  over,  we  have  them  here  in  a  very  good 
posture  again,  the  affairs  both  of  war  and  religion.  Here 
is,  I.  The  glorious  progress  of  their  arms  in  the  taking 
of  Ai,  before  which  they  had  lately  suffered  disgrace. 
1.  God  encourages  Joshua  to  attack  it,  with  the  assu¬ 
rance  of  success,  and  directs  him  what  method  to  take, 
v.  1,  2.  2.  Joshua  gives  orders  accordingly  to  the  men 
of  war,  v.  3.  .8.  3.  The  stratagem  is  managed  as  it  was 

projected,  and  succeeds  as  it  was  desired,  v.  9.  .22.  4. 

Joshua  becomes  master  of  this  city,  puts  all  to  the  sword, 
burns  it,  hangs  the  king,  but.  gives  the  plunder  to  the 
soldiers,  v.  23.  .29.  II.  The  great  solemnity  of  writing 
and  reading  the  law  before  a  general  assembly  of  all  Is¬ 
rael,  drawn  up  for  that  purpose  upon  the  tw  mountains 


of  Gerizim  and  Ebal,  according  to  an  order  which  Moses 
had  received  from  the  Lord,  and  delivered  to  them,  v. 
30.  .35.  Thus  did  they  take  their  work  before  them,  and 
make  the  business  of  their  religion  to  keep  pace  with 
their  secular  business. 

1.  4  ND  the  Lord  said  unto  Joshua, 
Fear  not,  neither  be  thou  dismayed: 
take  all  the  people  of  war  with  thee,  and 
arise,  go  up  to  Ai :  see,  I  have  given  into 
thy  hand  the  king  of  Ai,  and  his  people,  and 
his  city,  and  his  land.  2.  And  thou  shalt 
do  to  Ai  and  her  king  as  thou  didst  unto 
Jericho  and  her  king :  only  the  spoil  there¬ 
of,  and  the  cattle  thereof,  shall  ye  take  for 
a  prey  unto  yourselves :  lay  thee  an  am¬ 
bush  for  the  city  behind  it. 

Israel  were  very  happy  in  having  such  a  com 
mander  as  Joshua,  but  Joshua  was  more  happy  in 
having  such  a  director  as  Grd  himself;  when  any 
difficulty  occurred,  he  need  not  to  call  a  council  of 
war,  who  had  God  so  nigh  unto  him,  not  only  to 
answer,  but  even  to  prevent  his  inquiries.  It  should 
seem,  Joshua  was  now  at  a  stand,  had  scarcely  re¬ 
covered  from  the  discomposure  he  was  put  into  by 
the  trouble  Achan  gave  them,  and  could  not  think, 
without  fear  and  trembling,  of  pushing  forward, 
lest  there  should  be  in  the  camp  another  Achan; 
then  God  spake  to  him,  either  by  vision,  as  before, 
ch.  5.  as  a  man  of  war  with  his  sword  drawn,  or  by 
the  breastplate  of  judgment.  Note,  When  we  have 
faithfully  put  away  sin,  that  accursed  thing,  which 
separates  between  us  and  God,  then,  and  not  till 
then,  we  may  expect  to  hear  from  God  to  our  com¬ 
fort;  and  God’s  directing  us  how  to  go  on  in  our 
Christian  work  and  warfare,  is  a  good  evidence  of 
his  being  reconciled  to  us.  Obser'  e  here, 

I.  The  encouragement  God  gives  to  Joshua  to 
proceed;  Fear  not,  neither  be  thou  dismayed,  v.  1. 
This  intimates  that  the  sin  of  Achan,  and  the  con¬ 
sequence  of  it,  had  been  a  very  great  discourage¬ 
ment  to  Joshua,  and  made  his  heart  almost  ready 
to  fail.  Corruptions  within  the  church  we:  ken  the 
hands,  and  damp  the  spirits  of  her  guides  and  help¬ 
ers,  more  than  oppositions  from  without;  treacher¬ 
ous  Israelites  are  to  be  dreaded  more  than  mali¬ 
cious  Canaanites.  But  God  bids  Joshua  not  to  be 
dismayed;  the  same  power  that  keeps  Israel  from 
being  ruined  by  their  enemies,  shall  keep  them 
from  ruining  themselves.  To  animate  him,  1.  He 
assures  him  of  success  against  Ai,  tells  him  it  is  all 
his  own;  but  he  must  take  it  as  God’s  gift,  I  have 
given  it  into  thy  hands,  which  secured  him  both 
title  and  possession,  and  obliged  him  to  give  God 
the  glory  of  both,  Ps.  44.  3.  2.  He  allows  the  peo¬ 

ple  to  take  the  spoil  to  themselves.  Here  the  spoil 
was  not  consecrated  to  God  as  that  of  Jericho,  and 
therefore  there  was  no  danger  of  the  people’s  com¬ 
mitting  such  a  trespass  as  they  had  committed 
there.  Observe,  How  Achan,  who  catched  at  for¬ 
bidden  spoil,  lost  that,  and  life,  and  all;  but  the 
rest  of  the  people,  who  had  conscientiously  refrain¬ 
ed  from  the  accursed  thing,  were  quickly  recom¬ 
pensed  for  their  obedience  with  the  spoil  of  Ai;  the 
way  to  have  the  comfort  of  what  God  allows  us,  is, 
to  forbear  what  he  forbids  us.  No  man  shall  lose  by 
his  self-denial;  let  God  have  hisdues  first,  and  then 
all  will  be  clean  to  us  and  sure,  1  Kings  17.  13. 
God  did  not  bring  them  to  these  goodly  cities,  and 
houses  filled  with  all  good  things,  to  tantalize  them 
with  the  sight  of  that  which  they  might  not  touch; 
but,  having  received  the  first-fruits  from  Jericho,  the 
spoil  of  Ai,  and  of  all  the  cities  which  from  hence 
forward  came  into  their  hands,  they  might  take  fer 
a  prey  to  themselves. 


43 


JOSHUA,  Vlll. 


II.  The  direction  he  gives  him  in  attacking  Ai. 
It  must  not  be  such  a  work  of  time  as  the  taking  of 
Jericho  was,  that  would  have  prolonged  the  war  too 
much;  they  that  had  patiently  waited  seven  days 
for  Jericho,  shall  have  Ai  given  them  in  one  day. 
Nor  was  it,  as  that,  to  be  taken  by  miracle,  and  pure¬ 
ly  by  the  act  of  God,  but  now  their  own  conduct  and 
courage  must  be  exercised;  having  seen  God  work 
for  them,  they  must  now  bestir  themselves.  God 
directs  him,  1.  To  take  all  the  people,  that  they 
might  all  be  spectators  of  the  action,  and  sharers  in 
the  spoil.  Hereby  God  gave  him  a  tacit  rebuke  for 
sending  so  small  a  detachment  against  Ai,  in  the 
former  attempt  upon  it,  eh.  7.  4.  2.  To  lay  an  am¬ 

bush  behind  the  city;  this  was  a  method  which 
Joshua  would  not  have  thought  of  at  this  time,  if 
God  had  not  directed  him  to  it;  and  though  now 
we  are  not  to  expect  direction,  as  here,  by  visions, 
voices,  or  oracles,  yet  whenever  those  who  are  in¬ 
structed  with  public  counsels,  take  prudent  mea¬ 
sures  for  the  public  good,  it  must  be  acknowledged 
that  God  puts  it  into  their  hearts;  he  that  teaches 
the  husbandman  discretion,  no  doubt,  teaches  the 
statesman  and  general. 

3.  So  Joshua  arose,  and  all  the  people  of  war, 
to  go  up  against  Ai :  and  Joshua  chose  out 
thirty  thousand  mighty  men  of  valour,  and 
sent  them  away  by  night.  4.  And  he  com¬ 
manded  them,  saying,  Behold,  ye  shall  lie  in 
wait  against  the  city,  even  behind  the  city:  go 
not  very  far  from  the  city,  but  be  ye  all 
ready:  5.  And  I,  and  all  the  people  that 
are  with  me,  will  approach  unto  the  city  : 
and  it  shall  come  to  pass,  when  they  come 
out  against  us,  as  at  the  first,  that  we  will 
flee  before  them,  6.  (For  they  will  come 
out  after  us,)  till  we  have  drawn  them  from 
the  city :  for  they  will  say.  They  flee  be¬ 
fore  us,  as  at  the  first :  therefore  we  will 
flee  before  them.  7.  Then  ye  shall  rise  up 
from  the  ambush,  and  seize  upon  the  city  : 
for  the  Lord  your  God  will  deliver  it  into 
your  hand.  8.  And  it  shall  be,  when  ye 
have  taken  the  city,  that  ye  shall  set  the 
city  on  fire  :  according  to  the  commandment 
of  the  Lord  shall  ye  do.  See,  I  have  com¬ 
manded  you.  9.  Joshua  therefore  sent  them 
forth  :  and  they  went  to  lie  in  ambush,  and 
abode  between  Beth-el  and  Ai,  on  the  west 
side  of  Ai :  but  Joshua  lodged  that  night 
among  the  people.  10.  And  Joshua  rose 
up  early  in  the  morning,  and  numbered  the 
people,  and  went  up,  he  and  the  elders  of 
Israel,  before  the  people  to  Ai.  11.  And  all 
the  people,  even  the  people  of  war  that  ivere 
with  him,  went  up,  and  drew  nigh,  and  came 
before  the  city,  and  pitched  on  the  north 
side  of  Ai :  now  there  was  a  valley  between 
them  and  Ai.  12.  And  he  took  about  five 
thousand  men,  and  set  them  to  lie  in  am¬ 
bush  between  Beth-el  and  Ai,  on  the  west 
side  of  the  city.  13.  And  when  they  had 
set  the  people,  even  all  the  host  that  was  on 
the  north  of  the  city,  and  their  liers  in  wait 


on  the  west  of  the  city,  Joshua  went  that 
night  into  the  midst  of  the  valley.  14. 
And  it  came  to  pass,  when  the  king  of  Ai 
saw  it,  that  they  hasted  and  rose  up  early, 
and  the  men  of  the  city  went  out  against 
Israel  to  battle,  he  and  all  his  people,  at  a 
time  appointed,  before  the  plain ;  but  he 
wist  not  that  there  were  liers  in  ambush 
against  him  behind  the  city.  15.  And 
Joshua  and  all  Israel  made  as  if  they  were 
beaten  before  them,  and  fled  by  the  way 
of  the  wilderness.  16.  And  all  the  people 
that  ivere  in  Ai  were  called  together  to  pur¬ 
sue  after  them  :  and  they  pursued  after 
Joshua,  and  were  drawn  away  from  the 
city.  17.  And  there  was  not  a  man  left  in 
Ai  or  Beth-el  that  went  not  out  after  Israel : 
and  they  left  the  city  open,  and  pursued  af¬ 
ter  Israel.  18.  And  the  Lord  said  unto 
Joshua,  Stretch  out  the  spear  that  is  in  thy 
hand  toward  Ai ;  for  I  will  give  it  into  thine 
hand.  And  Joshua  stretched  out  the  spear 
that  he  had  in  his  hand  toward  the  city.  19. 
And  the  ambush  arose  quickly  out  of  their 
place,  and  they  ran  as  soon  as  he  had 
stretched  out  his  hand  ;  and  they  entered 
into  the  city,  and  took  it,  and  hasted,  and 
set  the  city  on  fire.  20.  And  when  the 
men  of  Ai  looked  behind  them,  they  saw, 
and,  behold,  the  smoke  of  the  city  ascended 
up  to  heaven,  and  they  had  no  power  to 
flee  this  way  or  that  way  :  and  the  people 
that  fled  to  the  wilderness  turned  back  upon 
the  pursuers.  21.  And  when  Joshua  and 
all  Israel  saw  that  the  ambush  had  taken 
the  city,  and  that  the  smoke  of  the  city  as¬ 
cended,  then  they  turned  again,  and  slew 
the  men  of  Ai.  22.  And  the  other  issued 
out  of  the  city  against  them ;  so  they  were 
in  the  midst  of  Israel,  some  on  this  side,  and 
some  on  that  side :  and  they  smote  them, 
so  that  they  let  none  of  them  remain  or  es¬ 
cape. 

We  have  here  an  account  of  the  taking  of  Ai  by 
stratagem.  The  stratagem  here  used,  we  are  sure, 
was  lawful  and  good:  God  himself  appointed  it,  and 
we  have  no  reason  to  think,  but  that  the  like  is  lawful 
and  good  in  other  wars.  Here  was  no  league  brok¬ 
en,  no  oath  or  promise  violated,  nor  any  thing  like 
it;  it  was  not  by  the  pretence  of  a  parley,  or  treaty 
of  peace,  that  the  advantage  was  gained,  no,  these 
are  sacred  things,  and  not  to  be  jested  with,  nor 
used  to  serve  a  turn;  truth,  when  once  plighted, 
becomes  a  debt  even  to  the  enemy.  But  in  this 
stratagem  here  was  no  untruth  told;  nothing  was 
concealed  but  their  own  counsels,  which  no  enemy 
ever  pretended  a  right  to  be  entrusted  with;  nothing 
was  dissembled,  nothing  counterfeited  but  a  re¬ 
treat,  which  was  no  natural  or  necessary  indication 
at  all  of  their  inability  to  maintain  their  onset,  cr  of 
any  design  not  to  renew  it;  the  enemy  ought  to 
have  been  upon  their  guard,  and  to  have  kept  within 
the  defence  of  their  own  walls;  common  prudence, 
had  they  been  governed  by  it,  would  have  directed 


JOSHUA,  VIII. 


them  not  to  venture  on  the  pursuit  of  an  army 
which  they  saw  was  so  far  superior  to  them  in 
numbers,  and  leave  their  city  unguarded;  but  ( Si 
populus  vult  deci/ii,  dicipiatur — If  the  people  will 
be  deceived,  let  them. )  if  the  Canaanites  were  so 
easily  imposed  upon,  and,  in  pursuit  of  God’s  Is¬ 
rael,  will  break  through  all  the  laws  of  policy  and 
good  management,  the  Israelites  are  not  at  all  to  be 
blamed  for  taking  advantage  of  their  fury  and 
.houghtlessness:  nor  is  it  any  way  inconsistent  with 
the  character  God  is  pleased  to  give  of  them,  that 
thev  are  children  that  will  not  lie. 

Now  in  the  account  here  given  of  this  matter, 

I.  There  is  some  difficulty  in  adjusting  the  num¬ 
bers  that  were  employed  to  effect  it.  Mention  is 
made,  v.  ",  of  thirty  thousand,  that  were  chosen 
and  sent  away  by  night,  to  whom  the  charge  was 
given  to  surprise  the  city  as  soon  as  ever  they  per¬ 
ceived  it  was  evacuated,  v.  4,  7,  8.  And  yet  after¬ 
ward,  v.  12.  it  is  said,  Joshua  took  five  thousand 
men,  and  set  them  to  lie  in  ambush  behind  the  city, 
and  that  ambush  entered  the  city,  and  set  it  on  fire, 
v.  19.  Now,  1.  Some  think  there  were  two  par¬ 
ties  sent  out  to  lie  in  ambush,  thirty  thousand  first, 
and  afterward  five  thousand  to  guard  the  roads,  and 
to  intercept  those  of  the  city  that  might  think  to 
save  themselves  by  flight,  or  to  strengthen  those 
that  were  first  sent  out;  and  that  Joshua  made  his 
open  attack  upon  the  city,  with  all  the  thousands 
of  Israel.  So  the  learned  Bishop  Patrick,  insisting 
upon  God’s  command,  v.  1.  to  take  all  the  people  of 
war  with  him.  But,  2.  Others  think  that  all  the 
people  were  taken  only  to  encamp  before  the  city, 
and  that  out  of  them  Joshua  chose  out  thirtv  thcu- 
sand  men  to  be  employed  in  the  action,  out  of  which 
he  sent  five  thousand  to  lie  in  ambush,  which  were 
as  many  as  could  be  supposed  to  march  incognito 
— without  being  discovered:  (more  would  have  been 
seen,  and  thus  the  design  woidd  have  been  broken;) 
and  that  then  with  the  other  twenty-five  thousand 
he  made  the  open  attack,  as  Masius  thinks,  or  with 
the  thirty  thousand,  which,  as  Calvin  thinks,  he 
kept  entire  for  that  purpose,  having,  beside  them, 
sent  out  five  thousand  for  an  ambuscade.  And  those 
five  thousand  (they  think)  must  be  meant  by  them, 
v.  3.  which  he  sent  away  by  night,  with  orders  to 
lie  in  wait  behind  the  city,  though  the  particular 
number  is  not  specified  till  v.  12.  If  we  may  admit 
such  a  seeming  disturbance  in  the  order  of  the. nar¬ 
rative,  (of  which,  perhaps,  similar  instances  might 
be  cited  from  the  other  scripture-histories,)  it  seems 
most  probable  that  there  was  but  one  ambushment, 
which  consisted  only  of  five  thousand,  enough  for 
such  a  purpose. 

II.  Yet  the  principal  parts  of  the  story  are  plain 
enough,  that  a  detachment  being  secretly  marched 
behind  the  citv,  on  the  other  side  to  that  on  which 
the  main  body  of  the  army  lay,  (the  situation  of 
the  country,  it  is  probable,  favouring  their  con¬ 
cealment,)  Joshua,  and  the  forces  with  him,  faced 
the  city;  the  garrison  made  a  vigorous  sally  out  up¬ 
on  them,  whereupon  they  withdrew,  gave  ground 
and  retreated  in  some  seeming  disorder  toward  the 
wilderness;  which  being  perceived  by  the  men  of 
Ai,  they  drew  out  all  the  force  they  had  to  pursue 
them.  This  gave  a  fair  opportunity  for  them  that 
lay  in  ambush  to  make  themselves  masters  of  the 
citv,  whereof  when  they  had  given  notice,  by  a 
smoke  to  Joshua,  he,  with  all  his  force,  returned 
upon  the  pursuers,  who  now,  when  it  was  too  late, 
were  aware  of  the  share  they  were  drawn  into,  for 
their  retreat  being  intercepted,  they  were  every 
man  of  them  cut  off.  The  like  artifice  we  find 
used,  Judg.  20,  29,  £J* c. 

Now  in  this  story  we  may  observe, 

1.  What  a  brave  commander  Joshua  was.  See, 
(1.)  His  conduct  and  prudence.  God  gave  him 


the  hint,  v.  2.  that  he  should  lay  in  ambush  behind 
the  city,  but  left  him  to  himself  to  order  the  parti¬ 
culars,  which  he  did  admirably  well.  Doubtless, 
Wisdom  strengthens  the  wise  more  than  ten  mighty 
men,  Eccl.  7.  19.  (2.)  His  care  and  industry,  v. 

10.  He  rose  up  early  in  the  morning,  that  he 
might  lose  no  time,  and  to  show  how  intent  his  mind 
was  upon  his  business.  Those  that  would  maintain 
their  spiritual  conflicts,  must  not  love  their  ease. 
3.)  His  courage  and  resolution;  though  an  army  of 
sraelites  had  been  repulsed  before  Ai,  yet  he  re¬ 
solves  to  lead  them  on  in  person  the  second  time, 
v.  5.  Being  himself  also  an  elder,  he  took  the  el¬ 
ders  of  Israel  with  him  to  make  this  attack  upon 
the  citv,  v.  10.  as  if  he  were  go’ng  rather  to  sit  in 
judgment  upon  them  as  criminals,  than  to  fight 
them  as  enenres.  (4.)  His  caution  and  considera¬ 
tion,  v.'  13.  He  went  that  night  into  the  midst  of  the 
valley,  to  make  the  necessary  dispositions  for  an  at¬ 
tack,  and  to  see  that  every  th'ng  was  in  good  order. 
It  is  the  pious  conjecture  of  .the  learned  Bishop 
Patrick  that  he  went  into  the  valley  alone  to  pray 
to  God  for  a  blessing  upon  his  enterprise,  and  he 
did  not  seek  in  vain.  (5.)  His  constancy  and  per¬ 
severance;  when  he  had  stretched  out  his  spear 
toward  the  city,  v.  18.  (a  spear  almost  as  fatal  and 
formidable  to  the  enemies  of  Israel  as  the  rod  cf 
Moses  was)  he  never  drew  back  his  hand  till  the 
work  was  done.  His  hands  in  fighting,  like  Mo¬ 
ses’s  in  interceding,  were  steady  to  the  going  down 
of  the  sun.  Those  that  have  stretched  out  their 
hands  against  their  spiritual  enemies,  must  never 
draw  them  back.  Lastly,  What  Joshua  did  in  the 
stratagem  is  applicable  to  our  Lord  Jesus,  of  whom 
he  was  a  type.  Joshua  conquered  by  yielding,  as 
if  he  had  himself  been  conquered;  so  our  Lord  Je¬ 
sus,  when  he  bowed  his  head  and  gave  up  the 
ghost,  seemed  as  if  death  had  triumphed  Over  h'm, 
and  as  if  he  and  all  his  interests  had  been  routed 
and  ruined:  but  in  his  resurrection  he  rallied  again 
and  gave  the  powers  of  darkness  a  total  defeat  ;  he 
broke  the  serpent’s  head,  by  suffering  him  to  bruise 
his  heel.  A  glorious  stratagem! 

2.  What  an  obedient  people  Israel  was;  what 
Joshua  commanded  them  to  do  according  to  thecom- 

i  mandment  of  the  Lord,  v.  8.  they  did  it  without 
murmuring  or  disputing.  They  that  weie  sent  to 
lie  in  ambush  between  Beth-et  and  Ai,  (two  cities 
confederate  against  them,)  were  in  a  post  of  dan¬ 
ger,  and  had  they  been  discovered,  might  all  have 
been  cut  off,  and  yet  they  ventured  it;  and  when 
the  body  of  the  army  retreated  and  fled,  it  was  both 
disgraceful  and  perilous;  and  yet,  in  obedience  to 
Joshua,  they  did  it. 

3.  What  an  infatuated  enemy  the  king  of  Ai  was, 
(1.)  That  he  did  not  by  his  scouts  discover  those 
that  lay  in  ambush  behind  the  city,  v.  14.  Rome 
observe  it  as  a  remarkable  instance  of  the  power  of 
God  in  making  men  blind  to  their  own  interest,  and 
the  things  that  belong  to  their  peace,  that  he  wist 
not  that  there  were  Hers  in  wait  against  him.  They 
are  most  in  danger,  who  are  least  aware  that  they 
are  so.  (2.)  That  when  Israel  seemed  to  fly,  he 
drew  out  all  his  forces  to  pursue  them,  and  left  none 
to  guard  his  city  and  to  secure  his  retreat,  v.  17. 
Thus  the  church’s  enemies  often  run  themselves 
into  destruction  by  their  own  fury  and  the  violence 
of  their  rage  against  the  Israel  of  God.  Pharaoh 
plunged  himself  into  the  Red-sea  by  the  eagerness 
with  which  he  pursued  Israel.  (3.)  That  from  the 
killing  of  thirty-six  men  out  of  three  thousand,  when 
Israei  made  the  former  attack  upon  his  city,  he 
should  infer  the  total  muting  of  so  great  an  army  as 
now  he  had  to  deal  with,  v.  6,  They  flee  before  us 
as  at  the  first.  See  how  th  e  prosperity  of  fools  de¬ 
stroys  them,  and  hardens  them  to  their  ruin.  God 
had'made  use  of  the  men  of  Ai  as  a  scourge  to  chas- 


JOSHUA.  VIII. 


4  b 


tise  his  people  for  meddling  with  the  accursed 
thing,  and  this  had  puffed  them  up  with  a  conceit, 
that  they  must  have  the  honour  of  delivering  their 
country  from  these  formidable  invaders;  but  they 
were  soon  made  to  see  their  mistake,  and  that  when 
the  Israelites  had  reconciled  themselves  to  their 
God,  they  could  have  no  power  against  them.  God 
had  made  use  of  them  only  for  the  rebuking  of  Is¬ 
rael,  with  a  purpose,  when  the  correction  was  over, 
to  throw  the  rod  itself  into  the  fire;  howbeit ,  they 
meant  not  so,  but  it  was  in  their  heart  to  destroy  and 
cut  off,  Isa.  10.  5* -7. 

4.  What  a  complete  victory  Israel  obtained  over 
them  by  the  favour  and  blessing  of  God.  Each  did 
his  part,  the  divided  forces  of  Israel,  by  signals 
agreed  on,  understood  one  another,  and  every  thing 
succeeded  according  to  the  project;  so  that  the  men 
of  Ai,  then  when  they  were  most  confident  of  vic¬ 
tory,  found  themselves  surrounded,  so  that  they 
had  neither  spirit  to  resist  nor  room  to  fly,  but  were 
under  a  fatal  necessity  of  yielding  their  lives  to  the 
destroyers.  And  now  it  is  hard  to  say,  whether  the 
shouts  of  the  men  of  Israel,  or  the  shrieks  of  the 
men  of  Ai,  were  the  louder,  but  easy  to  imagine 
what  terror  and  confusion  they  were  filled  with, 
when  their  highest  assurances  sunk  so  suddenly 
into  the  heaviest  despair.  Note,  The  triumphing  of 
the  wicked  is  short,  Job  20.  5.  They  are  exalted  for 
a  little  while,  that  their  fall  and  ruin  may  be  the  sorer, 
Job  24.  24.  See  how  easily,  how  quickly,  the  scale 
turns  against  them  that  have  not  God  on  their  side. 

23.  And  the  king  of  Ai  they  took  alive, 
and  brought  him  to  Joshua.  24.  And  it 
came  to  pass,  when  Israel  had  made  an 
end  of  slaying  all  the  inhabitants  of  Ai  in 
the  field,  in  the  wilderness  wherein  they 
chased  them,  and  when  they  were  all  fallen 
on  the  edge  of  the  sword,  until  they  were 
consumed,  that  all  the  Israelites  returned 
unto  Ai,  and  smote  it  with  the  edge  of  the 
sword.  25.  And  so  it  was,  that  all  that  fell 
that  day,  both  of  men  and  women,  were 
twelve  thousand,  even  all  the  men  of  Ai. 
26.  For  Joshua  drew  not  his  hand  back, 
wherewith  he  stretched  out  the  spear,  until 
he  had  utterly  destroyed  all  the  inhabitants 
of  Ai.  27.  Only  the  cattle  and  the  spoil 
of  that  city,  Israel  took  for  a  prey  unto 
themselves,  according  unto  the  word  of  the 
Lord,  which  he  commanded  Joshua.  28. 
And  Joshua  burnt  Ai,  and  made  it  a  heap 
for  ever,  even  a  desolation,  unto  this  day. 
29.  And  the  king  of  ai  he  hanged  on  a  tree 
until  even-tide:  and  as  soon  as  the  sun  was 
down,  Joshua  commanded  that  they  should 
take  his  carcase  down  from  the  tree,  and 
cast  it  at  the  entering  of  the  gate  of  the 
city,  and  raise  thereon  a  great  heap  of 
stones,  that  remainetli  unto  this  day. 

We  have  here  an  account  of  the  improvement 
which  the  Israelites  made  of  their  victory  over  Ai. 

1.  They  put  all  to  the  sword,  not  only  in  the 
field,  but  in  the  city,  man,  woman,  and  child,  none 
of  them  remained,  v.  24.  God,  the  righteous 
Judge,  had  passed  this  sentence  upon  them  for  their 
wickedness,  so  that  the  Israelites  were  only  the 
ministers  of  his  justice,  and  the  executioners  of  his 
•loom.  Once  in  this  story,  and  but  once,  mention 


is  made  of  the  men  of  Beth-el,  as  confederates 
with  the  men  of  Ai,  v.  17.  Though  they  had  a 
king  of  their  own,  and  were  not  subjects  to  the 
king  of  Ai,  (for  the  king  of  Beth-el  is  reckoned 
among  the  thirty-one  kings  that  Joshua  destroyed, 
ch.  12.  16.)  yet  Ai  being  a  stronger  place,  they 
threw  themselves  into  that,  for  their  own  safety, 
and  the  strengthening  of  their  neighbours’  hands, 
and  so  (we  may  presume)  were  all  cut  off  with 
them;  thus,  that  by  which  they  hoped  to  prevent 
their  own  ruin  hastened  it.  The  whole  number 
of  the  slain,  it  seems,  was  but  twelve  thousand,  an 
inconsiderable  body  to  make  head  against  all  the 
thousands  of  Israel;  but  whom  God  will  destroy, 
he  infatuates.  Here  it  is  said,  v.  26,  that  Joshua 
drew  not  his  hand  back  wherewith  he  stretched  out 
the  s/iear,  v.  18.  till  the  slaughter  was  completed. 
Some  think  the  spear  he  stretched  out,  was  not  to 
slay  the  enemies,  but  to  animate  and  encourage  his 
own  soldiers,  some  flag  or  ensign  being  hung  out  at 
the  end  of  this  spear;  and,  they  observe  it  as  an  in¬ 
stance  of  self-denial,  that  though  the  fire  of  courage 
wherewith  his  breast  was  filled,  would  have  pushed 
him  forward,  sword  in  hand,  into  the  hottest  of  the 
action,  yet,  in  obedience  to  God,  he  kept  the  infe¬ 
rior  post  of  a  standard-bearer,  and  did  not  quit  it 
till  the  work  was  done.  By  the  spear  stretched 
out,  he  directed  the  people  to  expect  their  help 
from  God,  and  to  him  to  give  the  praise. 

2.  They  plundered  the  city,  and  took  all  the 
spoil  to  themselves,  v.  27.  Thus  the  wealth  of  the 
sinner  is  laid  up  for  the  just;  the  spoil  they  brought 
out  of  Egypt,  by  borrowing  of  their  neighbours, 
was  much  of  it  expended  upon  the  tabernacle  they 
had  reared  in  the  wilderness,  for  which  they  are 
now  reimbursed  with  interest.  The  spoil  here 
taken,  it  is  probable,  was  all  brought  together,  and 
distributed  by  Joshua  in  due  proportions,  as  that  of 
the  Midianites  was,  Numb.  31.  26,  istc.  It  was  not 
seized  with  irregularity  or  violence,  for  God  is  the 
God  of  order  and  equity,  and  not  of  confusion. 

3.  They  laid  the  city  in  ashes,  and  left  it  to  re¬ 
main  so,  v.  28.  Israel  must  yet  dwell  in  tents,  and 
therefore  this  city,  as  well  as  Jericho,  must  be 
burnt.  And  though  there  was  no  curse  entailed 
upon  him  that  should  rebuild  it,  yet,  it  seems,  it 
was  not  rebuilt,  unless  it  be  the  same  with  Aija, 
which  we  read  of,  long  after,  Neh.  11.  31.  Some 
think  it  was  not  rebuilt,  because  Israel  had  received 
a  defeat  before  it,  the  remembrance  of  which 
should  be  buried  in  the  ruins  of  the  city. 

4.  The  king  of  Ai  was  taken  prisoner  and  cut  off, 
not  by  the  sword  of  war,  as  a  soldier,  but  by  the 
sword  of  justice,  as  a  malefactor.  Joshua  ordered 
him  to  be  hanged,  and  his  dead  body  thrown  at 
the  gate  of  his  own  city,  under  a  heafi  of  stones, 
v.  23,  29.  Some  particular  reason,  no  doubt,  there 
was  for  this  severity  against  the  king  of  Ai;  it  is 
likely  he  had  been  notoriously  wicked  and  vile,  and 
a  blasphemer  of  the  God  of  Israel,  perhaps,  upon 
occasion  of  the  repulse  he  had  given  to  the  forces 
of  Israel  in  their  first  onset.  Some  observe,  that 
his  dead  body  was  thrown  at  the  gate  where  he  had 
been  wont  to  sit  in  judgment,  that  so  much  the 
greater  contempt  might  thereby  be  poured  upon 
the  dignity  he  had  been  proud  of,  and  he  might  be 
punished  for  the  unrighteous  decrees  he  had  made  in 
the  very  place  where  he  had  made  them.  Thus  the 
Lord  is  known  by  the  judgments  which  he  executes. 

30.  Then  Joshua  built  an  altar  unto  the 
Lord  God  of  Israel  in  mount  Ebal,  31. 
As  Moses  the  servant  of  the  Lord  com¬ 
manded  the  children  of  Israel,  as  it  is  writ¬ 
ten  in  the  book  of  the  law  of  Moses,  An 
altar  of  whole  stones,  over  which  no  man 


46 


JOSHUA,  VIII. 


hath  lifted  up  any  iron:  and  they  offered 
thereon  burnt-offerings  unto  the  Lord,  and 
sacrificed  peace-offerings.  32.  And  he 
wrote  there  upon  the  stones  a  copy  of  the 
law  of  Moses,  which  he  wrote  in  the  pre¬ 
sence  of  the  children  of  Israel.  33.  And 
all  Israel,  and  their  elders,  and  officers,  and 
their  judges,  stood  on  this  side  the  ark  and 
on  that  side,  before  the  priests  the  Levites, 
which  bare  the  ark  of  the  covenant  of  the 
Lord,  as  well  the  stranger  as  he  that  was 
born  among  them :  half  of  them  over  against 
mount  Gerizim;  and  halfof  them  over  against 
mount  Ebal ;  as  Moses  the  servant  of  the 
Lord  had  commanded  before,  that  they 
should  bless  the  people  of  Israel.  34.  And 
afterward  he  read  all  the  words  of  the  law, 
the  blessings  and  cursings,  according  to  all 
that  is  written  in  the.  book  of  the  law.  35. 
There  was  not  a  word  of  all  that  Moses 
commanded  which  Joshua  read  not  before 
all  the  congregation  of  Israel,  with  the  wo¬ 
men,  and  the  little  ones,  and  the  strangers 
that  were  conversant  among  them. 

This  religious  solemnity  which  we  have  here  an 
account  of,  comes  in  somewhat  surprisingly  in  the 
midst  of  the  history  of  the  wars  of  Canaan.  After 
thetakingof  Jerichoand  Ai,we  should  have  expected 
that  the  next  news  should  have  been  of  their  taking 
possession  of  the  country,  the  pushing  on  of  their 
victories  in  other  cities,  and  the  carrying  of  the  war 
into  the  bowels  of  the  nation,  now  that  they  had  made 
themselves  masters  of  these  frontier  towns.  But 
here  a  scene  opens  of  quite  another  nature;  the 
camp  of  Israel  is  drawn  out  into  the  field,  not  to 
engage  the  enemy,  but  to  offer  sacrifice,  to  hear  the 
law  read,  and  to  say  Amen  to  the  blessings  and  the 
curses.  Some  think  this  was  not  done  till  after 
some  of  the  following  victories  were  obtained,  which 
we  read  of,  ch.  10.  and  11.  But  it  should  seem  by 
the  maps,  that  Shechem,  (near  to  which  these  two 
mountains,  Gerizim  and  Ebal,  were)  was  not  so  far 
off  from  Ai,  but  that  when  they  had  taken  that, 
they  might  penetrate  into  that  country  as  far  as 
those  two  mountains,  and  therefore  I  would  not  wil¬ 
lingly  admit  a  transposition  of  the  story;  and  the 
rather,  because  as  it  comes  in  here,  it  is  a  remark¬ 
able  instance,  1.  Of  the  zeal  of  Israel  for  the  ser¬ 
vice  of  God  and  for  his  honour.  Though  never 
was  war  more  honourable,  more  pleasant,  or  more 
gainful,  nor  ever  was  war  more  sure  of  victory,  or 
more  necessary  to  a  settlement,  (for  they  had 
neither  houses  nor  lands  of  their  own,  till  they  had 
won  them  by  the  sword,  no,  not  Joshua  himself,) 
yet  all  the  business  of  the  war  shall  stand  still, 
while  they  make  a  long  march  to  the  place  ap¬ 
pointed,  and  there  attend  this  solemnity.  God  ap- 

fointed  them  to  do  this  when  they  were  got  over 
ordan,  and  they  did  it  as  soon  as  possibly  they 
could,  though  they  might  have  had  a  colourable 
pretence  to  have  put  it  off.  Note,  We  must  not 
think  to  defer  our  covenanting  with  God  till  we  are 
settled  in  the  world,  nor  must  any  business  put  us 
bv  from  minding  and  pursuing  the  one  thing  need¬ 
ful.  The  way  to  prosper,  is  to  begin  with  God, 
Matt.  6.  33.  2.  It  is  an  instance  of  the  care  of  God 

concerning  his  faithful  servants  and  worshippers. 
Though  they  were  in  an  enemy’s  country,  as  yet 
unconquered,  yet  in  the  service  of  God  they  were 
safe,  as  Jacob,  when  in  this  very  country  he  was 


going  to  Beth-el  to  pay  his  vows,  the  terror  of  God 
was  ufion  the  cities  round  about,  Gen.  35.  5.  Note, 
When  we  are  in  the  way  of  duty,  God  takes  us 
under  his  special  protection. 

Twice  Moses  had  given  express  orders  for  this 
solemnity;  once  Deut.  11.  29,  30.  where  he  seems 
to  have  pointed  to  the  very  place  where  it  was  to  be 
performed;  and  again,  Deut.  27.  2,  isfc.  It  was  a 
federal  transaction:  the  covenant  was  now  renewed 
between  God  and  Israel  upon  their  taking  posses¬ 
sion  of  the  land  of  promise,  that  they  might  be  en¬ 
couraged  in  the  conquest  of  it,  and  might  know 
upon  what  terms  they  held  it,  and  come  under  fresh 
obligations  to  obedience.  In  token  of  the  covenant, 

I.  They  built  an  altar,  and  offered  sacrifice  to 
God,  v.  30,  31.  in  token  of  their  dedication  of  them¬ 
selves  to  God,  as  living  sacrifices  to  his  honour,  in 
and  by  a  mediator,  who  is  the  altar  that  sanctifies 
this  gift.  This  altar  was  erected  on  mount  Ebal, 
the  mount  on  which  the  curse  was  put,  Deut.  11. 
29.  to  signify  that  there,  where  by  the  law  we  had 
reason  to  expect  a  curse,  by  Christ’s  sacrifice  of 
himself  for  us,  and  his  mediation,  we  have  peace 
with  God;  he  has  redeemed  us  from  the  curse  of 
the  law  by  being  made  a  curse  for  us,  Gal.  3.  13. 
Even  there  where  it  was  said,  by  the  curse,  Ye  are 
not  my  fieofile;  there  it  is  said,  through  Christ  the 
Altar,  Ye  are  the  children  of  the  living  God,  Hos. 
1.  10.  The  curses  pronounced  on  mount  Ebal 
would  immediately  have  been  executed,  if  atone¬ 
ment  had  not  been  made  by  sacrifice. 

By  the  sacrifice  offered  on  this  altar  they  did 
likewise  give  God  the  glory  of  the  victories  they 
had  already  obtained,  as  Exod.  17.  15.  Now  that 
they  had  had  the  comfort  of  them  in  the  spoils  of 
Ai,  it  was  fit  that  Grd  should  have  the  praise  of 
them;  and  they  also  implored  his  favour  for  their 
future  success;  for  supplications  as  well  as  thanks¬ 
givings  were  intended  in  their  peace-offerings.  The 
way  to  prosper  in  all  that  we  put  our  hand  to,  is,  to 
take  God  along  with  us,  and  in  all  our  ways  to  ac¬ 
knowledge  him  by  prayer,  praise,  and  dependence. 

The  altar  they  built,  was  of  rough  unhewn  stone, 
according  to  the  law,  Exod.  20.  25.  for  that  which 
is  most  plain  and  natural,  and  least  artful  and 
affected  in  the  worship  of  God,  he  is  best  pleased 
with.  Man’s  device  can  add  no  beauty  to  God’s 
institutions. 

II.  They  received  the  law  from  God;  and  this 
they  must  do,  that  would  find  favour  with  him,  and 
expect  to  have  their  offerings  accepted;  for  if  we 
turn  away  our  ear  from  hearing  the  law,  our  pray¬ 
ers  will  be  an  abomination.  When  God  took  Israel 
into  covenant,  he  gave  tfiem  his  law,  and  they,  in 
token  of  their  consent  to  the  covenant,  subjected 
themselves  to  the  law.  Now  here, 

1.  The  law  of  the  ten  commandments  was  writ¬ 
ten  upon  stones  in  the  presence  of  all  Israel,  as  an 
abridgment  of  the  whole,  v.  32.  This  copy  was 
not  graven  in  the  stone,  as  that  which  was  reserved 
in  the  ark,  that  was  to  be  done  only  by  the  finger 
of  God;  it  is  his  prerogative  to  write  the  law  in  the 
heart,  but  the  stones  were  plastered,  and  it  was 
written  upon  the  plaster,  Deut.  27.  4,  8.  It  was 
written,  that  all  might  see  what  it  was  that  they 
consented  to,  and  that  it  might  be  a  standing  re¬ 
maining  testimony  to  posterity,  of  God’s  goodness 
in  giving  them  such  good  laws,  and  a  testimony 
against  them,  if  they  were  disobedient  to  them.  It 
is  a  great  mercy  to  any  people  to  have  the  law  of 
God  in  writing,  and  it  is  fit  that  the  written  law 
should  be  exposed  to  common  view  in  a  known 
tongue,  that  it  may  be  seen  and  read  of  all  men, 

2.  The  blessings  and  the  curses,  the  sanctions  of 
the  law,  were  publicly  read,  and  the  people,  (we 
may  suppose,)  according  to  Moses’s  appointment, 
said  Amen  to  them,  x’.  33,  34.  The  auditory  was 


47 


JOSHUA,  IX. 


\try  large;  (1.)  The  greatest  prince  was  not  ex¬ 
cused,  the  elders,  officers,  and  judges,  are  not  above 
the  cognizance  of  the  law,  but  will  come  under  the 
blessing  or  the  curse,  according  as  they  are  or  are 
not  obedient  to  it,  and  therefore  they  must  be  pre¬ 
sent  to  consent  to  the  covenant,  and  to  go  before  the 
people  therein.  (2  )  The  poorest  stranger  was  not 
excluded;  here  was  a  general  naturalization  of 
them,  as  well  the  stranger  as  he  that  was  born 
among  them,  was  taken  into  covenant:  this  was  an 
encouragement  to  proselytes,  and  a  happy  presage 
of  the  kindnesses  intended  for  the  poor  Gentiles  in 
the  latter  days. 

The  tribes  were  posted,  as  Moses  directed,  six 
toward  Gerizim,  and  six  toward  Ebal.  And  the 
ark  in  the  midst  of  the  valley  was  between  them, 
for  it  was  the  ark  of  the  covenant;  and,  in  it  were 
shut  up  the  close  rolls  of  that  law,  which  were  co¬ 
pied  out,  and  shown  openly  upon  the  stones.  The 
covenant  was  commanded,  and  the  command  cove¬ 
nanted.  The  priests  that  attended  the  ark,  or 
some  of  the  Levites  that  attended  them,  after  the 
people  had  all  taken  their  places,  and  silence  was 
proclaimed,  pronounced  distinctly  the  blessings  and 
the  curses,  as  Moses  had  drawn  them  up,  to  which 
the  tribes  said  Amen;  and  yet  it  is  here  onlv  said, 
that  they  should  bless  the  people,  for  the  blessing 
was  that  which  was  first  and  chiefly  intended,  and 
which  God  designed  in  giving  the  law.  If  they  fell 
under  the  curse,  that  was  their  own  fault.  And  it 
was  really  a  blessing  to  the  people  that  they  had  this 
matter  laid  so  plainly  before  them,  Life  and  death, 
good  and  evil;  he  had  not  dealt  so  with  other  nations. 

3.  The  law  itself  also  containing  the  precepts  and 

?rohibitions  was  read,  ( v .  35.)  it  should  seem  by 
oshua  himself,  who  did  not  think  it  below  him  to 
be  a  reader  in  the  congregation  of  the  Lord.  In 
conformity  to  this  example,  the  solemn  reading  of 
the  law,  which  was  appointed  once  in  seven  years, 
(Deut.  21.  10,  11.)  was  performed  by  their  king  or 
chief  magistrate.  It  is  here  intimated  what  a 
general  publication  of  the  law  this  was,  (1.)  Every 
word  was  read;  even  the  minutest  precepts  were 
not  omitted,  nor  the  most  copious  abridged;  not  one 
iota  or  tittle  of  the  law  shall  pass  away,  and  there¬ 
fore  none  was,  in  reading,  skipped  over,  under  pre¬ 
tence  of  want  of  time,  or  that  any  part  was  needless, 
or  not  proper  to  be  read.  It  was  not  many  weeks 
since  Moses  had  preached  the  whole  book  of  Deu¬ 
teronomy  to  them,  yet  Joshua  must  now  read  it  all 
over  again;  it  is  good  to  hear  twice  what  God  has 
spoken  once,  Ps.  62..  11.  and  to  review  what  has 
been  delivered  to  us,  or  to  have  it  repeated,  that  we 
may  not  let  it  slip.  (2.)  Every  Israelite  was  pre¬ 
sent,  even  the  women  and  the  little  ones,  that  all 
might  know  and  do  their  duty.  Note,  Masters  of 
families  should  bring  their  wives  and  children  with 
them  to  the  solemn  assemblies  for  religious  wor¬ 
ship.  All  that  are  capable  of  learning,  must  come 
to  be  taught  out  of  the  law.  The  strangers  also 
attended  with  them ;  for  wherever  we  are,  though 
but  as  strangers,  we  should  improve  every  oppor¬ 
tunity  of  acquainting  ourselves  with  God  and  his 
holy  will. 

CHAP.  IX. 

Here  is  in  this  chapter,  I.  The  impolitic  confederacy  of  the 
kings  of  Canaan  against  Israel,  v.  1,  2.  II.  The  politic 
confederacy  of  the  inhabitants  of  Gibeon  with  Israel.  1. 
How  it  was  subtilely  proposed  and  petitioned  for  by  the 
Gibeonites,  pretending  to  come  from  a  far  country,  v. 
3.  .13.  2.  How  it  was  unwarily  consented  to  by  Joshua 
and  the  Israelites,  to  the  disgust  of  the  congregation 
when  the  fraud  was  discovered,  v.  14.  .18.  3.  How  the 
matter  was  adjusted  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  sides,  by 
giving  these  Gibeonites  their  lives,  because  they  had  co¬ 
venanted  with  them,  yet  depriving  them  of  their  liberties, 
because  the  covenant  was  no1  fairly  obtained,  v.  19. .  27. 


1.  A  ND  it  came  to  pass,  when  all  the 
LlL  kings  which  were  on  this  side  Jordan, 

in  the  hills,  and  in  the  valleys,  and  in  all  the 
coasts  of  the  great  sea  over  against  Leba¬ 
non,  the  Hittite,  and  the  Amorite,  the 
Canaanite,  the  Perizzite,  the  Hivite,  and 
the  Jebusite,  heard  thereof,  2.  That  they 
gathered  themselves  together,  to  fight  with 
Joshua  and  with  Israel,  with  one  accord. 

Hitherto  the  Canaanites  had  acted  defensively, 
the  Israelites  were  the  aggressors  upon  Jericho  and 
Ai;  but  here  the  kings  of  Canaan  are  in  consultation 
to  attack  Israel,  and  concert  matters  for  a  vigorous 
effort  of  their  united  forces,  to  check  the  progress 
of  their  victorious  arms.  Now,  1.  It  was  strange 
they  did  not  do  this  sooner.  They  had  notice  long 
since  of  their  approach;  Israel’s  design  upon  Canaan 
was  no  secret;  one  would  have  expected  that  a  pru¬ 
dent  concern  for  their  common  safety  should  have 
put  them  upon  taking  some  measures  to  oppose  their 
coming  over  Jordan,  and  maintain  that  pass  against 
them,  or  to  have  given  them  a  warm  reception  as 
soon  as  they  were  over.  It  was  strange  they  did 
nut  attempt  to  raise  the  siege  of  Jericho,  or  at" least 
fall  in  with  the  men  of  Ai,  when  they  had  given 
them  a  defeat.  But  they  were  either,  through  pre¬ 
sumption  or  despair,  -wonderfully  infatuated,  and  at 
their  wit’s  end;  many  know  not  the  things  that  be¬ 
long  to  their  peace  till  they  are  hid  from  their  eves. 

2.  It  was  more  strange  that  they  did  it  now.  Now 
that  the  conquest  of  Jericho  had  given  such  a  preg¬ 
nant  proof  of  God’s  power,  and  that  of  Ai  of  Israel’s 
policy,  one  would  have  thought  the  end  of  their 
consultation  should  have  been,  not  to  fight  with  Is¬ 
rael,  but  to  make  peace  with  them,  and  to  gain  the 
best  terms  they  could  for  themselves.  This  had 
been  their  wisdom,  Luke  14.  32.  but  their  minds 
were  blinded,  and  their  hearts  hardened  to  their 
destruction. 

Observe,  (1.)  What  induced  them  now  at  last  to 
enter  upon  this  consultation.  When  they  heard 
thereof,  v.  1.  not  only  of  the  conquest  of  Jericho 
and  Ai,  but  of  the  convention  of  the  states  of  mount 
Ebal,  which  we  have  an  account  of  immediately  be¬ 
fore;  when  they  heard  that  Joshua,  as  if  he  thought 
himself  already  complete  master  of  the  country, 
had  had  all  his  people  together,  and  had  read  the 
laws  to  them,  by  which  they  must  be  governed, 
and  taken  their  promises  to  submit  to  those  laws, 
then  they  perceived  the  Israelites  were  in  good 
earnest,  and  thought  it  was  high  time  for  them  to 
bestir  themselves.  The  pious  devotions  of  God’s 
people  sometimes  provokes  and  exasperates  their 
enemies  more  than  any  thing  else.  (2.)  How 
unanimous  they  were  in  their  resolves.  Though 
they  were  many  kings  of  different  nations,  Hittites, 
Amorites,  Perizzites,  &c.  doubtless  of  different  in¬ 
terests,  and  that  had  often  been  at  variance  one 
with  another,  yet  they  determined,  nemine  contra- 
dicente — unanimously,  to  unite  against  Israel.  O 
that  Israel  would  learn  this  of  Canaanites,  to  sacri¬ 
fice  private  interests  to  the  public  welfare,  and  to 
lay  aside  all  animosities  among  themselves,  that 
they  may  cordially  unite  against  the  common  ene¬ 
mies  of  God’s  kingdom  among  men! 

3.  And  when  the  inhabitants  of  Gibeon 
heard  what  Joshua  had  done  unto  Jericho 
and  to  Ai,  4.  They  did  work  wilily,  and 
went  and  made  as  if  they  had  been  ambas¬ 
sadors  ;  and  took  old  sacks  upon  their  asses, 
and  wine-bottles,  old,  and  rent,  and  bound 


48 


JOSHUA,  IX. 


up:  5.  And  old  shoes  and  clouted  upon! 
their  feet,  and  old  garments  upon  them  ;  and 
all  the  bread  of  t  heir  provision  was  dry  and 
mouldy.  6.  And  they  went  to  Joshua  unto 
the  camp  at  Gilgal,  and  said  unto  him,  and 
to  the  men  of  Israel,  We  be  come  from  a 
far  country :  now  therefore  make  ye  a 
league  with  us.  7.  And  the  men  of  Israel 
said  unto  the  Hivites,  Peradventure  ye 
dwell  among  us ;  and  how  shall  we  make  a 
league  with  you  ?  8.  And  they  said  unto 

Joshua,  We  are  thy  servants.  And  Joshua 
said  unto  them,  Who  are  ye  ?  and  from 
whence  come  ye  ?  9.  And  they  said  unto 

him,  From  a  very  far  country  thy  servants 
are  come,  because  of  the  name  of  the  Lord 
thy  God  :  for  we  have  heard  the  fame  of  him, 
and  all  that  he  did  in  Egypt,  10.  And  all 
that  he  did  to  the  two  kings  of  the  Amorites 
that  were  beyond  Jordan,  to  Sihon  king  of 
Heshbon,  and  to  Og  king  of  Bashan,  which 
was  at  Ashtaroth.  11.  Wherefore  our  el¬ 
ders  and  all  the  inhabitants  of  our  country 
spake  to  us,  saying,  T ake  victuals  with  you 
for  the  journey,  and  go  to  meet  them,  and 
say  unto  them,  We  are  your  servants: 
therefore  now  make  ye  a  league  with  us. 

1 2.  This  our  bread  we  took  hot  for  our  pro¬ 
vision  out  of  our  houses  on  the  day  we  came 
forth  to  go  unto  you ;  but  now,  behold,  it  is 
dry,  and  it  is  mouldy:  13.  And  these  bot¬ 
tles  of  wine,  which  we  filled,  were  new  ; 
and,  behold,  they  be  rent:  and  these  our 
garments  and  our  shoes  are  become  old  by 
reason  of  the  very  long  journey.  1 4.  And 
the  men  took  of  their  victuals,  and  asked 
not  counsel  at  the  mouth  of  the  Lord. 

Here, 

I.  The  Gibeonites  desire  to  make  peace  with 
Israel,  being  alarmed  by  the  tidings  they  heard  of 
the  destruction  of  Jericho,  v.  3.  Other  people 
heard  those  tidings,  and  were  irritated  thereby  to 
make  war  upon  Israel;  but  the  Gibeonites  heard 
them,  and  were  induced  to  make  peace  with  them. 
Thus  the  discovery  of  the  glory  and  the  grace  of 
God  in  the  gospel,  is  to  some  a  savour  of  life  unto 
life;  but  to  others,  a  savour  of  death  unto  deaih,  2 
Cor.  2.  lb.  The  same  sun  soitens  wax  and  hardens 
clay.  I  do  not  remember  that  we  read  any  where 
of  a  king  of  Gibeon.  Had  their  government  been  at 
this  time  in  a  single  person,  perhaps  his  heart 
would  have  been  too  high  to  yield  to  Israel,  and  he 
would  have  joined  with  the  rest  of  the  kings  against 
Israel.  But  these  four  united  cities,  mentioned  v. 
17.  seem  to  have  been  governed  by  elders  or  sena¬ 
tors,  v.  11.  who  consulted  the  common  safety  more 
than  their  own  personal  dignity.  The  inhabitants 
of  Gibeon  did  well  for  themselves.  We  have, 

II.  The  method  they  took  to  compass  it.  They 
knew  that  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  land  of  Canaan 
were  to  be  cut  off,  perhaps  they  had  some  spies  in 
the  congregation  at  Ebal,  when  the  law  was  read, 
who  observed  and  brought  them  notice  of  the  com¬ 
mand  given  to  Israel,  Deut.  7.  1  •  •  3.  that  they  should 
show  no  mercy  to  the  Canaanites,  give  them  no 
quarter  in  battle,  which  made  them  afraid  of  fight¬ 


ing  them,  and  that  they  should  make  no  covenan. 
with  them,  which  made  them  despair  of  gaining 
any  advantage  by  treating  with  them :  and  therefore 
there  was  no  way  of  saving  their  lives  from  the 
sword  of  Israel,  unless  they  could,  by  disguising 
themselves,  make  Joshua  believe  that  they  came 
from  some  very  far  country,  which  the  Israelites 
were  not  commanded  to  make  war  upon,  nor  for¬ 
bidden  to  make  peace  with,  but  were  particularly 
appointed  to  offer  peace  to,  Deut.  20.  10,  15.  Un¬ 
less  they  could  be  admitted  under  this  notion,  they 
saw  there  was  but  one  way  with  them,  they  must 
submit  to  the  fate  of  Jericho  and  Ai.  Though 
the  neighbouring  princes  knew  that  all  the  men 
thereof  were  mighty,  ( ch .  10.  2.)  and  they  knew  it 
themselves,  yet  they  durst  not  contend  with  Israel, 
who  had  an  Almighty  God  on  their  side.  This 
therefore  is  the  only  game  they  have  to  play,  and 
they  play  it  very  artfully  and  successfully;  never 
was  any  such  thing  more  craftily  managed. 

1.  They  came  under  the  character  of  ambassa¬ 
dors  from  a  foreign  state,  which  they  thought  would 
please  the  princes  of  Israel,  and  make  them  proud 
of  the  honour  of  being  courted  by  distant  countries: 
we  find  Hezekiah  fond  of  those  that  came  to  him 
from  a  far  country,  Isa.  39.  3.  they  had  not  used  to 
be  thus  courted. 

2.  They  pretended  to  have  undergone  the  fatigues 
of  a  very  long  journey,  and  produced  what  passed 
for  an  ocular  demonstration  of  it.  It  should  seem  it 
was  then  usual  for  those  that  undertook  long  jour- 
nies,  to  take  with  them,  as  we  do  now  for  long 
voyages,  all  manner  of  provision  in  kind,  the  coun¬ 
try  not  being  furnished  as  our’s  is  now  with  houses 
of  entertainment,  for  the  convenience  of  which, 
when  we  have  occasion  to  make  use  of  them,  we 
have  reason  to  be  very  thankful.  Now,  they  here 
pretended  that  their  provision,  when  they  brought 
it  from  home,  was  fresh  and  new,  but  now  it  ap¬ 
peared  to  be  old  and  dry,  whereas  it  might  well  be 
presumed  they  had  not  loitered,  but  made  the  best 
of  their  way;  so  that  from  hence  it  must  be  inferred 
that  they  came,  as  they  said  they  did,  from  a  very 
far  country,  their  sacks  or  portmanteaus  were  old, 
the  wine  all  urank,  and  the  bottles  in  which  it  had 
been,  broken,  their  shoes  and  their  clothes  were 
worse  than  those  of  the  Israelites  in  forty  years, 
their  bread  mouldy,  v.  4,  5.  and  again,  v.  12,  13. 
Thus  God’s  Israel"  have  often  been  deceived  and 
imposed  upon  with  a  show  of  antiquity.  But  fas 
Bishop  Hall  expresses  it)  errors  are  ne-Oer  the  older 
for  being  patched,  and  so  seeming  old;  but  they 
that  will  be  caught  with  this  Gibeonitish  stratagem, 
prove  they  have  not  consulted  with  God.  And  thus 
there  are  those  who  make  themselves  poor  with  the 
badges  of  want  and  distress,  and  yet  have  great 
riches,  Prov.  13.  7.  or  at  least  have  no  need  of  re¬ 
lief,  by  which  fraud  charity  is  misplaced,  and  de¬ 
nied  to  those  that  are  real  objects  ot  it. 

3.  When  they  were  suspected,  and  more  strictly 
examined  from  whence  they  came,  they  industri¬ 
ously  declined  telling  the  name  of  their  countiy, 
till  the  agreement  was  settled;  (1.)  The  men  of 
Israel  suspected  a  fraud,  v.  7.  “  Peradventure  xjc 
dwell  among  us,  and  then  we  may  not,  we  must 
not,  make  any  league  with  you;”  this  might  have 
discouraged  the  Gibeonites  from  urging  the  mattei 
any  further,  concluding  that  if  the  peace  were  made, 
the  Israelites  would  not  think  themselves  obliged 
to  keep  it,  having  thus  solemnly  protested  against 
it,  in  case  they  dwelt  among  them ;  but  knowing 
that  there  was  no  hope  at  all  if  they  stood  it  out, 
they  bravely  ventured  a  submission;  “  Who  knows 
but  the  people  of  Israel  may  save  us  alive,  though 
thus  inveigled  into  a  promise,  and  if  we  tell  them  at 
last,  we  shall  but  die.”  (2.)  Joshua  put  the  ques¬ 
tions  to  them,  Who  are  ye?  and  from  whence  come 


JOSHUA,  IX.  4£» 


ye?  He  finds  himself  concerned  to  stand  upon  his 
guard  against  secret  fraud,  as  well  as  against  open 
force;  we  in  our  spiritual  warfare  must  stand  against 
the  wiles' of  the  devil,  remembering  he  is  a  subtle 
serpent  as  well  as  a  roaring  lion.  In  all  leagues  of 
relation  and  friendship  we  must  first  try,  and  then 
trust,  lest  we  repent  at  leisure  agreements  made  in 
haste.  (3.)  they  would  not  tell  whence  they 
came;  but  still  repeat  the  same  thing,  We  are  come 
from  a  very  far  country,  v.  9.  They  will  have  it 
thought,  that  it  is  a  country  Israel  knows  nothing 
of,  nor  ever  heard  of,  and  therefore  would  be  never 
the  wiser  if  they  should  tell  him  the  name  of  it. 

4.  They  profess  a  respect  for  the  God  of  Israel, 
the  more  to  ingratiate  themselves  with  Joshua,  and 
we  charitably  believe  they  were  sincere  in  this  pro¬ 
fession,  “  We  are  come  because  of  the  name  of  the 
Lord  thy  God,  v.  9.  because  of  what  we  have  heard 
of  that  name,  which  has  convinced  us  that  it  is 
above  every  name,  and  because  we  have  a  desire 
toward  that  name,  and  the  remembrance  of  it,  and 
would  gladly  come  under  its  protection. 

5.  They  fetch  their  inducements  from  what  had 
been  done  some  time  before  in  Moses’s  reign,  the 
tidings  whereof  might  easily  be  supposed  ere  this  to 
have  reached  distant  regions,  the  plagues  of  Egypt 
and  the  destruction  of  Sihon  and  Og,  v.  9,  10.  but 
prudently  say  nothing  of  the  destruction  of  Jericho 
and  Ai,  (though  that  was  the  true  inducement,  v. 
3.)  because  they  will  have  it  supposed  that  they 
came  from  home  long  before  those  conquests  were 
made.  W e  need  not  be  long  to  seek  for  reasons  why 
we  should  submit  to  the  God  of  Israel;  we  may  be 
furnished  either  with  new  or  old,  which  we  will. 

6.  They  make  a  good  submission,  We  are  your 
servants,  and  humbly  sue  for  a  general  agreement, 
make  a  league  with  us,  v.  11.  They  insist  not  upon 
terms,  but  will  be  glad  of  peace  upon  any  terms; 
nor  will  the  case  admit  of  delays,  lest  the  fraud  be 
discovered;  fain  would  they  have  the  bargain  struck 
up  immediately;  if  Joshua  will  but  make  a  league 
with  them,  they  have  all  they  come  for,  and  they 
hope  their  ragged  clothes  and  clouted  shoes  will  be 
no  exception  against  them;  God  and  Israel  reject 
none  for  their  poverty. 

Now,  (1.)  Their  falsehood  cannot  be  justified,  nor 
ought  it  to  be  drawn  into  a  precedent.  We  must 
not  do  evil,  that  good  may  come.  Had  they  owned 
their  country  but  renounced  the  idolatries  of  it,  re¬ 
signing  the  possession  of  it  to  Israel,  and  themselves 
to  the  Gnd  of  Israel,  we  have  reason  to  think  Joshua 
would  have  been  directed  by  the  oracle  of  God  to 
spare  their  lives,  and  they  needed  not  to  have  made 
these  pretensions.  It  is  observable,  when  they  had 
once  said,  We  are  come  from  a  far  country,  v.  6. 
they  found  themselves  necessitated  to  say  it  again, 
v.  9.  and  to  say  what  was  utterly  false  concerning 
their  bread,  their  bottles,  their  clothes,  v.  12,  13. 
for  one  lie  is  an  inlet  to  another,  and  that  to  a  third, 
and  so  on.  The  way  of  that  sin  is  down-hill. 

But  (2. )  Their  faith  and  prudence  are  to  be  greatly 
commended;  our  Lord  commended  even  the  unjust 
steward,  because  he  had  done  wisely  and  well  for 
himself,  Luke  16.  8.  In  submitting  to  Israel,  they 
submitted  to  the  God  of  Israel,  which  implied 
a  renunciation  of  the  God  they  had  served,  a  resig¬ 
nation  to  the  laws  of  the  true  religion.  They  had 
heard  enough  to  convince  them  of  the  infinite  power 
of  the  God  of  Israel,  and  from  thence  might  infer 
his  other  perfections  of  wisdom  and  goodness;  and 
how  can  we  do  better  for  ourselves,  than  surrender 
at  discretion  to  infinite  wisdom,  and  cast  ourselves 
ufion  the  mercy  of  a  God  of  infinite  goodness?  The 
submission  of  these  Gibeonites  was  the  more  lauda¬ 
ble,  because  it  was,  [1.]  Singular;  their  neighbours 
took  another  course,  and  expected  they  should  join 
with  them.  [2.j  Speedy;  they  did  not  stay  till  Is- 

Vot,.  II.— G 


rael  had  besieged  their  cities;  then  it  had  been  too 
late  to  capitulate;  but  when  they  were  at  some  dis¬ 
tance,  they  desired  conditions  of  peace.  The  way 
to  avoid  a  judgment  is  to  meet  it  by  repentance. 
Let  us  imitate  these  Gibeonites,  and  make  our 
peace  with  God  in  the  rags  of  humiliation,  godly 
sorrow,  and  mortification,  so  our  iniquity  shall  not 
be  our  ruin.  Let  us  be  servants  to  Jesus,  our  blessed 
Joshua,  and  make  a  league  with  him  and  the  Israel 
of  God,  and  we  shall  live. 

15.  And  Joshua  made  peace  with  them, 
and  made,  a  league  with  them,  to  let  them 
live:  and  the  princes  of  the  congregation 
svvare  unto  them.  1 6.  And  it  came  to  pass, 
at  the  end  of  three  days,  after  they  had 
made  a  league  with  them,  that  they  heard 
that  they  were  their  neighbours,  and  that 
they  dwelt  among  them.  1 7.  And  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  journeyed,  and  came  unto 
their  cities  on  the  third  day.  Now  their 
cities  were  Gibeon,  and  Chephirah,  and  Bee- 
roth,  and  Kirjath-jearim.  18.  And  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  smote  them  not,  because  the 
princes  of  the  congregation  had  sworn  unto 
them  by  the  Lord  God  of  Israel.  And  all 
the  congregation  murmured  against  the 
princes.  19.  But  all  the  princes  said  unto 
all  the  congregation,  We  have  sworn  unto 
them  by  the  Lord  God  of  Israel :  now, 
therefore  we  may  not  touch  them.  20.  This 
we  will  do  to  them ;  we  will  even  let  them 
live ;  lest  wrath  be  upon  us,  because  of  the 
oath  which  we  sware  unto  them.  21.  And 
the  princes  said  unto  them,  Let  them  live ; 
but  let  them  be  hewers  of  wood  and  drawers 
of  water  unto  all  the  congregation  •,  as  the 
princes  had  promised  them 

Here  is, 

I.  The  treaty  soon  concluded  with  the  Gibeon¬ 
ites,  v.  14,  15.  The  thing  was  not  done  with  much 
formality,  but  in  short.  1.  They  agreed  to  let 
them  live,  and  more  the  Gibeonites  did  not  ask.  In 
a  common  war  this  had  been  but  a  small  matter  to 
be  granted;  but  in  the  wars  of  Canaan,  which  were 
to  make  a  general  destruction,  it  was  a  great  favour 
to  a  Canaanite  to  have  his  life  given  him  for  a  prey, 
Jer.  45.  5.  2.  This  agreement  was  made  not  by 

Joshua  only,  but  by  the  princes  of  the  congregation, 
in  conjunction  with  him.  Though  Joshua  had  an 
extraordinary  call  to  tne  government,  and  extraor¬ 
dinary  qualifications  for  it,  yet  he  would  not  act  in 
an  affair  of  this  nature,  without  the  counsel  and  con¬ 
currence  of  the  princes,  who  were  neither  kept  in 
the  dark  nor  kept  under  foot,  but  were  treated  by 
him  as  sharers  in  the  government.  3.  It  was  rati 
fied  by  an  oath,  they  sware  unto  them,  not  by  any 
of  the  gods  of  Canaan,  but  by  the  God  of  Israel 
only,  v.  19.  They  that  mean  honestly,  do  not 
startle  at  assurances,  but  satisfy  those  with  whom 
they  treat,  and  glorifv  God,  by  calling  him  to  wit¬ 
ness  to  the  sincerity  of  their  intentions.  4.  Nothing 
appears  to  have  been  culpable  in  all  this,  but  that 
it  was  done  rashly;  they  took  of  their  victuals,  by 
which  they  satisfied  themselves  that  it  was  indeed 
old  and  dry,  but  did  not  consider  that  that  was  no 
proof  of  their  bringing  it  fresh  from  home;  so  that, 
making  use  of  their  senses  only,  but  not  their  rea¬ 
son,  they  received  the  men  (;  s  the  margin  reads  it) 


50 


JOSH! 

because  of  their  victuals,  perceiving  perhaps,  upon 
the  view  and  taste  of  their  bread,  not  only  that  now 
it  was  old,  but  that  it  had  been  fine  and  very  good 
at  first,  whence  they  inferred  that  they  were  per¬ 
sons  of  some  quality;  and  therefore  the  friendship 
of  their  country  was  not  to  be  despised.  But  they 
asked  not  counsel  at  the  mouth  of  the  Lord.  They 
had  the  Urim  and  Thummim  with  them,  which 
they  might  have  advised  with  in  this  difficult  case, 
and  that  would  have  told  them  no  lie,  would  have 
led  them  into  no  error;  but  they  relied  so  much  on 
their  own  politics,  that  they  thought  it  needless  to 
bring  the  matter  to  the  oracle.  Joshua  himself  was 
not  altogether  without  blame  herein.  Note,  We 
then  make  more  haste  than  good  speed  in  any  busi¬ 
ness,  when  we  stay  not  to  take  God  along  with  us, 
and  by  the  word  and  prayer  to  consult  him.  Many 
a  time  we  see  cause  to  reflect  upon  it  with  regret, 
that  such  and  such  an  affair  miscarried,  because  we 
asked  not  counsel  at  the  mouth  of  the  Lord;  would 
we  acknowledge  him  in  all  our  ways,  we  should 
find  them  more  safe,  easy,  and  successful. 

II.  The  fraud  soon  cliscovered  by  which  this 
league  was  procured.  A  lying  tongue  is  but  for  a 
moment,  and  truth  will  be  the  daughter  of  time. 
Within  three  days  they  found,  to  their  great  sur¬ 
prise,  that  the  cities  which  these  ambassadors  had 
treated  for,  were  very  near  them,  but  one  night’s 
foot-march  from  the  camp  at  Gilgal,  ch.  10.  9. 
Either  their  own  scouts,  or  the  parties  that  sallied 
out  to  acquaint  themselves  with  the  country,  or  per¬ 
haps  some  deserters  that  came  over  to  them  from 
the  enemy,  informed  them  of  the  truth  of  this  mat¬ 
ter.  They  that  suffer  themselves  to  be  deceived 
by  the  wiles  of  Satan,  will  soon  be  undeceived  to 
their  confusion,  and  will  find  that  near,  even  at 
the  door,  which  they  imagined  was  very  far  off. 

III.  The  disgust  of  the  congregation  at  this. 
They  did  indeed  submit  to  the  restraints  which  this 
league  laid  upon  them,  and  smote  not  the  cities  of 
the  Gibeonites,  neither  slew  the  persons,  nor  seized 
the  prey;  but  it  vexed  them  to  have  their  hands 
thus  tied,  and  they  murmured  against  the  princes, 
(v.  18.)  it  is  to  be  feared,  more  from  a  jealousy  for 
their  own  profit,  than  from  a  zeal  for  the  fulfilling 
of  God’s  command,  though  some  of  them  perhaps 
had  a  regard  to  that.  Many  are  forward  to  arraign 
and  censure  the  actions  of  princes  while  they  are 
ignorant  of  the  springs  of  those  actions,  and  are  in¬ 
competent  judges  of  the  reasons  of  state  that  go¬ 
vern  them.  While  therefore  we  are  satisfied  in 
general  that  those  who  are  over  us  aim  at  nothing 
but  the  public  good,  and  sincerely  seek  the  welfare 
of  their  people,  we  ought  to  make  the  best  of  what 
they  do,  and  not  exercise  ourselves  in  things  above 
us. 

IV.  The  prudent  endeavour  of  the  princes  to  pa¬ 
cify  the  discontented  congregation,  and  to  accom¬ 
modate  the  matter;  herein  all  the  princes  concur¬ 
red  and  were  unanimous,  which  doubtless  disposed 
the  people  to  acquiesce. 

1.  They  resolved  to  spare  the  lives  of  the  Gibe¬ 
onites,  for  so  they  had  expressly  sworn  to  do,  v.  15. 
to  let  them  live. 

(1.)  The  oath  was  lawful,  else  it  had  not  bound 
them  any  more  than  Herod’s  oath  bound  him  to 
cut  off  John  Baptist’s  head;  it  is  true,  God  had  ap¬ 
pointed  them  to  destroy  all  the  Canaanites,  but  that 
law  must  be  construed  in  favor em  vitge — with  some 
tender  allowance,  to  mean  those  only  that  stood  it 
out,  and  would  not  surrender  their  country  to  them, 
and  not  to  bind  them  so  far  to  put  off  the  sense  of 
lionour  and  humanity,  as  to  slay  those  who  had 
never  lifted  up  a  hand  against  them,  nor  ever 
would,  but  before  they  were  reduced  to  any  ex¬ 
tremity,  or  ever  attempted  anv  act  of  hostility,  with 
one  consent  humbled  themselves;  the  kings  of  Is- 


TA,  IX. 

rael  were  certainly  more  merciful  kings  than  to  do 
so,  ,1  Kings  20.  31.  and  the  God  of  Israel  a  more 
merciful  God  than  to  order  it  so;  Satis  est  pros- 
trdsse  leoni — It  is  enough  to  have  laid  the  lion  pros¬ 
trate.  And  besides,  the  reason  of  the  law  is  the 
law;  the  mischief  designed  to  be  prevented  by  that 
law,  was  the  infecting  of  the  Israelites  with  their 
idolatry;  Deut.  7.  4.  But  if  the  Gibeonites  re¬ 
nounce  their  idolatry,  and  become  friends  and  ser¬ 
vants  to  the  house  of  God,  the  danger  is  effectually 
prevented,  the  reason  of  the  law  ceases,  and  conse¬ 
quently  the  obligation  of  it,  especially  to  a  thing  of 
this  nature.  The  conversion  of  sinners  shall  pre¬ 
vent  their  ruin. 

(2. )  The  oath  being  lawful,  both  the  princes,  and 
the  people  for  whom  they  transacted,  were  bound 
by  it,  bound  in  conscience,  bound  in  honour  to  the 
God  of  Israel,  by  whom  they  had  sworn,  and  whose 
names  would  have  been  blasphemed  by  the  Ca¬ 
naanites,  if  they  had  violated  this  oath.  They  speak 
as  those  that  feared  an  oath  (Eccl.  9.  2.)  when  they 
argued  thus;  We  will  let  them  live,  lest  wrath  be 
upon  us,  because  of  the  oath  which  we  sware,  v.  20. 
He  that  ratifies  a  promise  with  an  oath,  imprecates 
the  divine  vengeance  if  he  wilfully  break  his  pro¬ 
mise,  and  has  reason  to  expect  that  divine  justice 
will  take  him  at  his  word.  God  is  not  mocked, 
and  therefore  oaths  are  not  to  be  jested  with.  The 
princes  will  keep  their  word,  [1.]  Though  they 
lest  by  it.  A  citizen  of  Sion  swears  to  his  own  hurt, 
and  changes  not,  Ps.  15.  4.  Joshua  and  the  princes, 
when  they  found  it  was  to  their  prejudice  that  they 
had  thus  bound  themselves,  did  not  apply  them¬ 
selves  to  Eleazar  for  a  dispensation,  much  less  did 
they  pretend  that  no  faith  is  to  be  kept  with  here¬ 
tics,  with  Canaanites;  no,  they  were  strangers  to 
the  modern  artifices  of  the  Roman  Church,  to  elude 
the  most  sacred  bonds,  and  even  to  sanctify  per¬ 
juries.  [2.]  Though  the  people  were  uneasy  at  it, 
and  their  discontent  might  have  ended  in  a  mutinv, 
yet  the  princes  would  not  violate  their  engagement 
to  the  Gibeonites;  we  must  never  be  over-awed, 
either  by  majesty  or  multitude,  to  do  a  sinful  thing, 
and  to  go  against  our  consciences.  [3.]  Though 
they  were  drawn  into  this  league  by  a  wile,  and 
might  have  had  a  very  plausible  pretence  to  de¬ 
clare  it  null  and  void,  yet  they  adhered  to  it.  They 
might  have  pleaded  that  though  those  were  the 
men  with  whom  they  exchanged  the  ratifications, 
yet  these  were  not  the  cities  intended  in  the  league; 
they  had  promised  to  spare  certain  cities,  without 
names,  that  were  very  far  rff,  and  upon  the  express 
consideration  of  their  being  so,  but  these  were  very 
near,  and  therefore  not  the  cities  that  they  covenant¬ 
ed  with.  And  many  learned  men  have  thought  that 
they  were  so  grossly  imposed  upon  by  the  Gibeonites, 
that  it  would  have  been  lawful  for  them  to  have  re¬ 
called  their  promise;  but  to  preserve  their  reputa¬ 
tion,  and  to  keep  up  in  Israel  a  veneration  for  an 
oath,  they  would  stand  to  it;  but  it  is  plain  that 
they  thought  themselves  indispensably  obliged  by 
it,  and  were  apprehensive  that  the  wrath  of  God 
would  fall  upon  them  if  they  broke  it.  And  how¬ 
ever  their  adherence  to  it  might  be  displeasing  to 
the  congregation,  it  is  plain  that  it  was  acceptable 
to  God,  for  when,  in  pursuance  of  this  league,  they 
undertook  the  protection  of  the  Gibeonites,  God 
gave  them  the  most  glorious  victory  that  ever  they 
had  in  all  their  wars,  ch.  10.  and  long  after  severely 
avenged  the  wrong  Saul  did  to  the  Gibeonites  in  vio¬ 
lation  of  this  league,  2  Sam.  21.  1.  Let  this  con¬ 
vince  us  all  how  religiously  we  ought  to  perform 
our  promises,  and  make  good  our  bargains;  and 
what  conscience  we  ought  to  make  of  our  words, 
when  they  are  once  given.  If  a  covenant  obtained 
by  so  many  lies  and  deceits  might  not  be  broken, 
shall  we  think  to  evade  the  obligation  of  those  that 


51 


JOSHUA,  IX. 


have  been  made  with  all  possible  honesty  and 
fairness?  If  the  fraud  of  others  will  not  justify  or 
excuse  our  falsehood,  certainly  the  honesty  of 
others  in  dealing  with  us,  will  aggravate  and  con¬ 
demn  our  dishonesty  in  dealing  with  them. 

2.  Though  they  spared  their  lives,  yet  they 
seized  their  liberties,  and  sentenced  them  to  be 
hewers  of  wood,  and  drawers  of  water,  to  the  con¬ 
gregation,  v.  21.  By  this  proposal  the  discontent¬ 
ed  congregation  was  pacified;  for  (1.)  They  who 
were  angry  that  the  Gibeonites  lived,  might  be 
content  when  they  saw  them  condemned  to  that 
which,  in  the  general  apprehension,  is  worse  than 
death,  perpetual  servitude.  (2. )  They  who  were 
angry  that  they  were  not  spoiled,  might  be  content 
when  their  service  of  the  congregation  would  be 
more  to  the  public  advantage,  than  their  best  ef¬ 
fects  could  be;  and,  in  short,  the  Israelites  would 
be  no  losers  either  in  honour  or  profit  by  this  peace 
with  the  Gibeonites;  convince  them  of  this,  and 
they  will  be  satisfied. 

22.  And  Joshua  called  for  them,  and  he 
spake  unto  them,  saying,  Wherefore  have 
ye  beguiled  us,  saying,  We  are  very  far 
from  you  ;  when  ye  dwell  among  us?  23. 
Now  therefore  ye  are  cursed ;  and  there 
shall  none  of  you  be  freed  from  being  bond- 
men,  and  hewers  of  wood  and  drawers  of 
water  for  the  house  of  my  God.  24.  And 
they  answered  Joshua,  and  said,  Because 
it  was  certainly  told  thy  servants,  how  that 
the  Lord  thy  God  commanded  his  servant 
Moses  to  give  you  all  the  land,  and  to  de¬ 
stroy  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  land  from  be¬ 
fore  you,  therefore  we  were  sore  afraid  of 
our  lives  because  of  you,  and  have  done 
this  thing.  25.  And  now,  behold,  we  are 
in  thine  hand :  as  it  seemeth  good  and  right 
unto  thee  to  do  unto  us,  do.  26.  And  so 
did  he  unto  them,  and  delivered  them  out 
of  the  hand  of  the  children  of  Israel,  that 
they  slew  them  not.  27.  And  Joshua  made 
them  that  day  hewers  of  wood  and  draw¬ 
ers  of  water,  for  the  congregation  and  for 
the  altar  of  the  Lord,  even  unto  this  day, 
in  the  place  which  he  should  choose. 

The  matter  is  here  settled  between  Joshua  and 
the  Gibeonites,  and  an  explanation  of  the  league 
agreed  upon;  we  may  suppose  that  now,  not  the 
messengers  who  were  first  sent,  but  the  elders  of 
Gibeon,  and  of  the  cities  that  were  dependent  upon 
it,  were  themselves  present,  and  treated  with,  that 
the  matter  might  be  fully  compromised. 

I.  Joshua  reproves  them  for  their  fraud,  v .  22. 
And  they  excuse  it  as  well  as  they  can,  v.  24.  1. 

Joshua  gives  the  reproof  very  mildly;  117 lerefore 
have  ye  beguiled  us?  He  does  not  load  them  with 
any  ill  names,  does  not  give  them  any  harsh  pro¬ 
voking  language,  does  not  call  them,  as  they  de¬ 
served  to  be  called,  base  liars,  but  only  asks  them, 
Why  have  ye  beguiled  us?  Under  the  greatest  pro¬ 
vocations,  it  is  our  wisdom  and  duty  to  keep  our 
temper,  and  .to  bridle  our  passion;  a  just  cause 
needs  not  anger  to  defend  it,  and  a  bad  one  is  made 
never  the  better  by  it.  2.  They  make  the  best  ex¬ 
cuse  for  themselves  that  the  thing  would  bear,  v. 
24.  They  found  by  the  word  of  God,  that  sentence 
of  death  was  passed  upon  them,  (the  command  was 


to  destroy  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  land,  without 
exception,)  and  they  found  by  the  works  of  God 
already  wrought,  that  there  was  no  opposing  the 
execution  of  this  sentence;  they  considered  that 
God’s  sovereignty  is  incontestable,  his  justice  in¬ 
flexible,  his  power  irresistible,  and  therefore  re¬ 
solved  to  try  what  his  mercy  was,  and  found  it  was 
not  in  vain  to  cast  themselves  upon  it.  They  do 
not  go  about  to  justify  their  lie,  but  in  effect  beg 
pardon  for  it,  pleading  it  was  purely  to  save 
their  lives  that  they  did  it,  which  every  man  that 
finds  in  himself  the  force  of  the  law  of  self-pre¬ 
servation,  will  therefore  make  great  allowances 
for;  especially  in  such  a  case  as  this,  where  the 
fear  was  not  merely  of  the  power  of  man,  (if  that 
were  all,  one  might  flee  from  that  to  the  divine 
protection,)  but  of  the  power  of  God  himself, 
which  they  saw  engaged  against  them. 

II.  Joshua  condemns  them  to  servitude,  as  a  pun¬ 
ishment  of  their  fraud,  v.  23.  and  they  submit  to 
the  sentence,  i'.  25.  and  for  aught  that  appears, 
both  sides  are  pleased. 

1.  Joshua  pronounces  them  perpetual  bondmen. 
They  had  purchased  their  lives  with  a  lie,  but  that 
being  no  good  consideration,  he  obliges  them  to  hold 
their  lives  under  the  rent  and  reservation  of  their 
continual  labours,  in  hewing  wood  and  drawing  wa¬ 
ter,  the  meanest  and  most  toilsome  employments. 
Thus  their  lie  was  punished;  had  they  dealt  fairly 
and  plainly  with  Israel,  perhaps  they  had  had  more 
honourable  conditions  granted  them,  but  now,  since 
they  gain  their  lives  with  ragged  clothes  and  clout¬ 
ed  shoes,  the  badges  of  servitude,  they  are  con¬ 
demned  for  ever  to  wear  such,  so  must  their  doom 
be.  And  thus  the  ransom  of  their  lives  is  paid;  do¬ 
minion  is  acquired  by  the  preservation  of  a  life  that 
lies  at  mercy  (  Serous  dicitur  a  servanda — A  ser¬ 
vant  is  so  called  from  the  act  of  saving ,)  they 
owe  their  service  to  them  to  whom  they  owe  their 
lives.  Observe  how  the  judgment  is  given  against 
them.  (1.)  Their  servitude  is  made  a  curse  to 
them.  “  Now  ye  are  cursed  with  the  ancient  curse 
of  Canaan,”  from  whom  these  Hivites  descended, 
a  servant  of  servants  shall  thou  be,  Gen.  9.  25. 
What  shall  be  done  to  the  false  tongue  but  this? 
Cursed  shall  it  be.  (2.)  Yet  this  curse  is  turned 
into  a  blessing;  they  must  be  serv  ants,  but  it  shall 
be  for  the  house  of  my  God.  The  princes  would 
have  them  slaves  unto  all  the  congregation,  v.  21. 
at  least,  they  chose  to  express  themselves  so,  for 
the  pacifying  of  the  people  that  were  discontented, 
but  Joshua  mitigates  the  sentence,  both  in  honour 
to  God  and  in  favour  to  the  Gibeonites:  it  would  be 
too  hal'd  upon  them  to  make  them  every  man’s 
drudge;  if  they  must  be  hewers  of  wood  and  draw¬ 
ers  o  f  water,  than  which  there  cannot  be  a  greater 
disparagement,  especially  to  them  who  are  citizens 
of  a  royal  city,  and  all  mighty  men,  cli.  10.  2.  yet 
they  shall  be  so  to  the  house  of  mu  God,  than 
which  there  cannot  be  a  greater  preferment:  Da¬ 
vid  himself  could  have  wished  to  be  a  door-keeper 
there.  Even  servile  work  becomes  honourable 
when  it  is  done  for  the  house  of  my  God,  and  the 
offices  thereof. 

[1.]  They  were  hereby  excluded  from  the  liber¬ 
ties  and  privileges  of  true-born  Israelites,  and  a  re¬ 
maining  mark  of  distinction  put  upon  their  posteritv 
throughout  all  their  generations.  [2.  ]  They  were 
hereby  employed  in  such  services  as  required  their 
personal  attendance  upon  the  altar  of  God,  in  the 
filace  which  he  should  choose,  v.  27.  which  would 
bring  them  to  the  knowledge  of  the  law  of  God, 
keep  them  tight  to  that  holy  religion  to  which  they 
were  proselyted,  and  prevent  their  revolt  to  the 
idolatries  of  their  fathers.  [3.]  This  would  be  a 
greet  advantage  to  the  priests  and  Levites  to  have 
so  many,  and  those  mighty  men,  constant  attend- 


JOSHUA,  X. 


ants  upon  them,  and  engaged  by  office  to  do  all  i 
tiie  drudgery  of  the  tabernacle.  A  great  deal  of 
wood  must  be  hewed  for  fuel  for  God’s  house,  j 
not  only'  to  keep  the  fire  burning  continually 
upon  the  altar,  buc  to  boil  the  flesh  of  the 
pea.:e-offerings,  &c.  And  a  great  deal  of  water 
must  be  drawn  for  the  divers  washings  which  the 
law  prescribed;  these  and  other  such  servile  works, 
such  as  washing  the  vessels,  carrying  out  ashes, 
sweeping  the  courts,^.  which  otherwise  the  Le- 
vites  must  have  done  themselves,  these  Gibeonites 
were  appointed  to  do.  [4.]  They  were  herein 
servants  to  the  congregation  too;  for  whatever  pro¬ 
motes  and  helps  forward  the  worship  of  God,  is 
real  service  to  the  commonwealth.  It  is  the  inter¬ 
est  of  every  Israelite,  that  the  altar  of  God  be  well 
attended.  Hereby  also  the  congregation  was  excus¬ 
ed  from  much  of  this  servile  work,  which  per¬ 
haps  would  otherwise  have  been  expected  from 
some  of  them.  God  had  made  a  law  that  the  Is¬ 
raelites  should  never  make  any  of  their  brethren 
bondmen;  if  they  had  slaves,  they  must  be  of  the 
heathen  that  were  round  about  them,  Lev.  25.  44. 
Now,  in  honour  of  this  law,  and  of  Israel  that  was 
honoured  by  it,  God  would  not  have  the  drudgery, 
no,  not  of  the  tabernacle  itself,  to  be  done  by  Israel¬ 
ites,  but  by  Gibeonites,  who  were  afterward  called 
JVethinim ,  men  given  to  the  Levites  as  they  were  to 
the  priests,  (Numb.  3.  9.)  to  minister  to  them  in 
the  service  of  God.  [5.]  This  may  be  looked  upon 
as  typifying  the  admission  of  the  Gentiles  into  the 
Gospel-Church.  Now  they  were  taken  in  upon 
their  submission  to  be  under-officers,  but  afterward 
God  promises  that  he  will  take  of  them,  for  firiests 
and  Levites,  Isa.  66.  21. 

2.  They  submit  to  this  condition,  v.  25.  Con¬ 
scious  of  a  fault  in  framing  a  lie  whereby  to  deceive 
the  Israelites,  and  sensible  also  how  narrowly  they 
escaped  with  their  lives,  and  what  a  kindness  it  was 
to  have  them  spared,  they  acquiesce  in  the  propo¬ 
sal,  Do  as  it  seemeth  right  unto  thee.  Better  live  in 
servitude,  especially  such  servitude,  than  not  live 
at  all.  Those  of  the  very  meanest  and  most  despi¬ 
cable  condition,  are  described  to  be  hewers  of  wood, 
and  drawers  of  water,  Deut.  29.  11.  But  skin  for 
skin,  liberty  and  labour,  and  all  that  a  man  has, 
will  he  give  for  his  life,  and  no  ill  bargain.  Accor¬ 
dingly  the  matter  was  determined,  (1.)  Joshua  de¬ 
livered  them  out  of  the  hands  of  the  Israelites  that 
they  should  not  be  slain,  v.  26.  It  seems  there 
were  those  who  would  have  fallen  upon  them  with 
the  sword,  if  Joshua  had  not  interposed  with  his 
authority;  but  wise  generals  know  when  to  lock  up 
the  sword,  as  well  as  when  to  draw  it.  (2. )  He 
then  delivered  them  again  into  the  hands  of  the  Is¬ 
raelites  to  be  enslaved,  v.  27.  They  were  not  to 
keep  possession  of  their  cities,  for  we  find  afterward 
that  three  of  them  fell  to  the  lot  of  Beniamin,  and  one 
to  that  of  Judah ;  nor  were  they  themselves  to  be 
at  their  own  disposal,  but,  as  Bishop  Patrick  thinks, 
were  dispersed  into  the  cities  of  the  priests  and  Le¬ 
vites,  and  came  up  with  them  in  their  courses  to 
serve  at  the  altar,  out  of  the  profits  of  which,  it  is 
robable,  they  were  maintained.  And  thus  Israel’s 
ondmen  became  the  Lord’s  freemen,  for  his  ser¬ 
vice  in  the  meanest  office  is  liberty,  and  his  work  is 
its  own  wages.  And  this  they  got  by  their  early 
submission.  Let  us,  in  like  manner,  submit  to  our 
Lord  Jesus,  and  refer  ourselves  to  him,  saying, 
“  We  are  in  thy  hand,  do  unto  us  as  seemeth  good 
and  right  unto  thee ;  only  save  our  souls,  and  we 
shall  not  repent  it:”  if  he  appoints  us  to  bear  his 
cross,  and  draw  in  his  yoke,  and  serve  at  his  altar, 
that  shall  be  afterward  neither  shame  nor  grief  to 
us,  while  the  meanest  office  in  God’s  service  will 
entitle  us  to  a  dwelling  in  the  house  of  the  Lord 
all  the  days  of  our  life. 


CHAP.  X. 

1  We  have  in  this  chapter  an  account  of  the  conquest  of  the 
kings  and  kingdoms  of  the  southern  part  of  the  land 
of  Canaan,  as,  in  the  next  chapter,  of  the  reduction 
of  the  northern  parts,  which  together  completed  the 
glorious  successes  of  the  wars  of  Canaan.  In  this 
chapter  we  have  an  account,  I.  Of  the  routing  of 
their  forces  in  the  field-  In  which  observe,  I.  Their  con¬ 
federacy  against  the  Gibeonites,  v.  1 . .  5.  2.  The  Gib¬ 
eonites’  request  to  Joshua  to  assist  them,  v.  6.  3.  Josh¬ 

ua’s  speedy  march  under  divine  encouragement  for  their 
relief,  v.  7.. 9.  4.  The  defeat  of  the  armies  of  these 

confederate  kings,  v.  10,11.  5.  The  miraculous  pro¬ 
longing  of  the  day  by  the  standing  still  of  the  sun  in  fa¬ 
vour  of  the  conquerors,  v.  12  . .  14.  II.  Of  the  execu¬ 
tion  of  the  kings  that  escaped  out  of  the  battle,  v.  15. . 
27.  III.  Of  the  taking  of  the  particular  cities,  and  the 
total  destruction  of  all  that  were  found  in  them.  Mak- 
kedah,  v.  28.  Libnah,  v.  29,  30.  Lachish,  v.  31,  32,  and 
the  kipg  of  Gezer  that  attempted  its  rescue,  v.  33.  Eg- 
lon,  v.  34;  35.  Hebron,  v.  36, 37.  Debir,  v.  38,  39.  And 
the  bringing  of  all  that  country  into  the  hands  of  Israel, 
v.  40. .  42.  And  lastly,  the  return  of  the  army  to  their 
head-quarters. 

1  OW  it  came  to  pass,  when  Adoni- 
J3I  zedek  king  of  Jerusalem  had  heard 
how  Joshua  had  taken  Ai,  and  had  utterly 
destroyed  it ;  as  he  had  done  to  Jericho  and 
her  king,  so  he  had  done  to  Ai  and  her 
king;  and  how  the  inhabitants  of  Gibe- 
on  had  made  peace  with  Israel,  and  were 
among  them ;  2.  That  they  feared  greatly, 
because  Gibeon  was  a  great  city,  as  one  of 
the  royal  cities,  and  because  it  was  greater 
than  Ai,  and  all  the  men  thereof  were 
mighty.  3.  Wherefore  Adoni-zedek  king 
of  Jerusalem  sent  unto  Hoham  king  of  He¬ 
bron,  and  unto  Piram  king  of  Jarmuth,  and 
unto  Japhia  king  of  Lachish,  and  unto  De¬ 
bir  king  of  Eglon,  saying,  4.  Come  up 
unto  me,  and  help  me,  that  we  may 
smite  Gibeon :  for  it  hath  made  peace 
with  Joshua  and  with  the  children  of  Is¬ 
rael.  5.  Therefore  the  five  kings  of  the 
Amorites,  the  king  of  Jerusalem,  the  king  of 
Hebron,  the  king  of  Jarmuth,  the  king  of 
Lachish,  the  king  of  Eglon,  gathered  them¬ 
selves  together,  and  went  up,  they  and  all 
their  hosts,  and  encamped  before  Gibeon, 
and  made  war  against  it.  6.  And  the  men 
of  Gibeon  sent  unto  Joshua  to  the  camp  at 
Gilgal,  saying,  Slack  not  thy  hand  from  thy 
servants  ;  come  up  to  us  quickly,  and  save 
us,  and  help  us :  for  all  the  kings  of  the  Am¬ 
orites  that  dwell  in  the  mountains  are  gath¬ 
ered  together  against  us. 

Joshua  and  the  hosts  of  Israel  had  now  been  a 
good  while  in  the  land  of  Canaan,  and  no  great 
matters  were  effected;  they  were  made  masters  of 
Jericho  by  miracle,  of  Ai  by  stratagem,  and  of  Gib¬ 
eon  by  surrender,  and  that  was  all;  hitherto  the 
progress  of  their  victories  has  not  seemed  propor¬ 
tionable  to  the  magnificence  of  their  entry  and  the 
glory  of  their  beginnings.  Those  among  them  that 
were  impatient  of  delays,  it  is  probable,  complain 
ed  of  Joshua’s  slowness,  and  asked  why  they  did  not 
immediately  penetrate  into  the  heart  of  the  country, 
before  the  enemy  could  rally  their  forces  to  make 


53 


JOSHUA,  X. 


head  against  them;  why  they  stood  trifling,  while 
they  were  so  confident  both  of  their  title  and  of 
their  success.  Thus  Joshua’s  prudence,  perhaps, 
was  censured  as  slothfulness,  cowardice,  and  want 
of  spirit.  But,  1.  Canaan  was  not  to  be  conquered 
in  a  day.  God  had  said,  that  by  little  and  little  he 
would  drive  out  the  Canaanites,  Exod.  23.  30.  He 
that  believeth,  will  not  make  haste,  or  conclude 
that  the  promise  will  never  be  performed,  because 
it  is  not  performed  so  soon  as  we  expected.  2. 
Joshua  waited  for  the  Canaanites  to  be  the  aggress¬ 
ors;  let  them  first  make  an  onset  upon  Israel,  on 
the  allies  of  Israel,  and  then  their  destruction  will 
be,  or  at  least  will  appear  to  be,  the  more  just  and 
the  more  justifiable.  Joshua  had  warrant  sufficient 
to  set  upon  them,  yet  he  stays  till  they  strike  the 
first  stroke,  that  he  might  provide  for  honest  things, 
in  the  sight,  not  only  of  God,  but  of  men;  and  they 
would  be  the  more  excusable  in  their  resistance, 
now  that  they  had  seen  what  favour  the  Gibeonites 
found  with  Israel.  3.  It  was  for  the  advantage  of 
Israel  to  sit  still  a  while,  that  the  forces  of  these 
little  kings  might  unite  in  one  body,  and  so  might 
the  easier  be  cut  off  at  one  blow.  This  God  had 
in  his  eye  when  he  put  it  into  their  hearts  to  com¬ 
bine  against  Israel;  though  they  designed  thereby 
to  strengthen  one  another,  that  which  he  intended, 
was,  to  gather  them  as  sheaves  into  the  floor,  to  fall 
together  under  the  flail,  Mic.  4.  12.  Thus  often¬ 
times  that  seeming  paradox  proves  wholesome 
counsel,  Stay  a  while,  and  we  shall  have  done  the 
sooner. 

After  Israel  had  waited  a  while  for  an  occasion  to 
make  war  upon  the  Canaanites,  a  fair  one  offers 
itself. 

I.  Five  kings  combine  against  the  Gibeonites. 
A.doni-zedek  king  of  Jerusalem  was  the  first  mover 
and  ringleader  of  this  confederacy.  He  had  a  good 
name;  it  signifies  lord  of  righteousness-,  a  descendant 
perhaps  from  Melchizedek,  king  of  righteousness; 
but  notwithstanding  the  goodness  of  his  name  and 
family,  it  seems  he  was  a  bad  man,  and  an  implaca¬ 
ble  enemy  to  the  posterity  of  that  Abraham,  whom 
his  predecessor,  Melchizedek,  was  such  a  faithful 
friend  to.  He  called  upon  his  neighbours  to  join 
against  Israel,  either  because  he  was  the  most  ho¬ 
nourable  prince,  and  had  the  precedency  among 
these  kings,  (perhaps  they  had  some  dependence 
upon  him,  at  least  they  paid  a  deference  to  him,  as 
the  most  public,  powerful,  and  active  man  they 
had  among  them,)  or,  because  he  was  first  or  most 
apprehensive  of  the  danger  his  country  was  in,  not 
only  by  the  conquest  of  Jericho  and  Ai,  but  the  sur¬ 
render  of  Gibeon,  which,  it  seems,  was  the  chief 
thing  that  alarmed  him,  it  being  one  of  the  most 
considerable  frontier-towns  they  had.  Against  Gib- 
eon  therefore  all  the  force  he  could  raise,  must  be 
levelled;  Come,  says  he,  and  helfi  me,  that  we  may 
smite  Gibeon.  This  he  resolves  to  do,  either,  1.  In 
policy;  that  he  might  retake  the  city,  because  it 
was  a  strong  city,  and  of  great  consequence  to  his 
country,  in  whose  hands  it  was;  or,  2.  In  passion, 
that  he  might  chastise  the  citizens  for  making 
peace  with  Joshua,  pretending  that  they  had  per¬ 
fidiously  betrayed  their  country  and  strengthened 
the  common  enemy,  whereas  they  had  really  done 
the  greatest  kindness  imaginable  to  their  country 
by  setting  them  a  good  example,  if  they  would  have 
followed  it.  Thus  Satan  and  his  instruments  make 
war  upon  those  that  make  peace  with  God:  marvel 
not  if  the  world  hate  you,  and  treat  those  as  desert¬ 
ers,  who  are  converts  to  Christ. 

II.  The  Gibeonites  send  notice  to  Joshua  of  the 
distress  and  danger  they  were  in,  v.  6.  Now  they 
expect  benefit  from  the  league  they  had  made  with 
Israel,  because  though  it  was  obtained  by  deceit,  it 
was  afterward  confirmed  when  the  truth  came  out. 


They  think  Joshua  obliged  to  help  them,  1.  In 
conscience,  because  they  were  his  servants,  not  in 
compliment,  as  they  had  said  in  their  first  address, 
ch.  9.  8,  We  are  thy  sen-ants,  but  in  reality  made 
servants  to  the  congregation;  and  it  is  the  duty  of 
masters  to  take  care  of  the  poorest  and  meanest  of 
their  servants,  and  not  to  see  them  wronged  when 
it  is  in  the  power  of  their  hand  to  right  them.  They 
that  pay  allegiance  may  reasonably  expect  protec¬ 
tion.  Thus  David  pleads  with  God,  Ps.  119.  94,  I 
am  thine ;  save  me;  and  so  may  we,  if  indeed  we  be 
his.  2.  In  honour,  because  the  ground  of  their  ene 
mies’  quarrel  with  them,  was,  the  respect  they  had 
shown  to  Israel,  and  the  confidence  they  had  in  a 
covenant  with  them.  Joshua  cannot  refuse  to  help 
them,  when  it  is  for  their  affection  to  him,  and  to 
the  name  of  his  God,  that  they  are  attacked.  Da¬ 
vid  thinks  it  a  good  plea  with  God,  Ps.  69.  7,  For 
thy  sake  I  have  borne  re/iroach.  When  our  spirit¬ 
ual  enemies  set  themselves  in  array  against  us,  and 
threaten  to  swallow  us  up,  let  us,  by  faith  and  prayer, 
apply  ourselves  to  Christ,  our  Joshua,  for  strength 
and  succour,  as  St.  Paul  did,  and  we  shall  receive 
the  same  answer  of  peace,  My  grace  is  sufficient 
for  thee,  2  Cor.  12.  8,  9. 

7.  So  Joshua  ascended  from  Gilgal,  he 
and  all  the  people  of  war  with  him,  and  all 
the  mighty  men  of  valour.  8.  And  the 
Lord  said  unto  Joshua,  Fear  them  not ; 
for  I  have  delivered  them  into  thine  hand : 
there  shall  not  a  man  of  them  stand  before 
thee.  9.  Joshua  therefore  came  unto  them 
suddenly,  and  went  up  from  Gilgal  all 
night.  10.  And  the  Lord  discomfited  them 
before  Israel,  and  slew  them  with  a  great 
slaughter  at  Gibeon,  and  chased  them  along 
the  way  that  goeth  up  to  Beth-horon,  and 
smote  them  to  Azekah,  and  unto  Makke- 
dah.  1 1 .  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  they  fled 
from  before  Israel,  and  were  in  the  going 
down  to  Beth-horon,  that  the  Lord  cast 
down  great  stones  from  heaven  upon  them 
unto  Azekah,  and  they  died :  they  were  more 
which  died  with  hailstones  than  they  whom 
the  children  of  Israel  slew  with  the  sword. 
12.  Then  spake  Joshua  to  the  Lord  in  the 
day  when  the  Lord  delivered  up  the  Amor- 
ites  before  the  children  of  Israel,  and  he 
said  in  the  sight  of  Israel,  Sun,  stand  thou 
still  upon  Gibeon;  and  thou,  Moon,  in  the 
valley  of  Ajalon.  13.  And  the  sun  stood 
still,  and  the  moon  stayed,  until  the  pec»p]e 
had  avenged  themselves  upon  their  enemies. 
Is  not  this  written  in  the  book  of  Jasher? 
So  the  sun  stood  still  in  the  midst  of  heaven, 
and  hasted  not  to  go  down  about  a  whole 
day.  14.  And  there  was  no  day  like  that 
before  it  or  after  it,  that  the  Lord  hearken¬ 
ed  unto  the  voice  of  a  man :  for  the  Lord 
fought  for  Israel. 

Here, 

I.  Joshua  resolves  to  assist  the  Gibeonites,  and 
God  encourages  him  in  that  resolve.  1.  He  ascend¬ 
ed  from  Gilgal,  v.  7.  that  is,  he  designed,  deter¬ 
mined,  and  prepared  for,  this  expedition  to  relieve 


JOSHUA,  X. 


G:beo»,  for  it  is  probable  it  was  before  he  stirred  a 
step  that  God  spake  to  him  to  encourage  him.  It 
was  generous  and  just  in  Joshua  to  help  his  new  al¬ 
lies,  though  perhaps  the  king  of  Jerusalem,  when 
he  attacked  them,  little  thought  that  Joshua  would 
have  been  so  ready  to  help  them,  but  expected  he 
would  abandon  them  as  Canaanites,  the  rather 
because  they  had  obtained  their  league  with  him  by 
fraud;  therefore  he  speaks  with  assurance,  v.  4.  of 
smiting  Gibeon.  But  Joshua  knew  that  his  promise 
to  let  them  live,  obliged  him,  not  only  not  to  slay 
them  himself,  but  not  to  stand  by  and  see  them 
slain,  when  it  was  in  the  power  of  his  hand  to 
prevent  it,  Prcv.  24.  11,  12.  He  knew  that  when 
they  embraced  the  faith  and  worship  of  the  God 
rf  Israel,  they  came  to  trust  under  the  shadow  of 
his  wings,  (Ruth  2.  12.)  and  therefore,  as  his  ser¬ 
vants,  he  was  bound  to  protect  them.  2.  Gcd  ani¬ 
mated  him  for  his  undertaking,  v.  8.  Fear  not,  that 
is.  O')  “Doubt  net  of  the  goodness  of  thy  cause, 
and  the  clearness  of  thy  call;  though  it  be  to  as- 
s:st  Gibeonites,  thou  art  in  the  way  of  duty,  and 
God  is  with  thee  of  a  truth.  ”  (2. )  “  Dread  not  the 
power  of  the  enemy;  though  so  many  enemies  are 
confederate  against  thee,  and  are  resolved  to  make 
their  utmost  efforts  for  the  reduction  of  Gibeon, 
and,  it  may  be,  will  fight  desperately  in  a  desperate 
cause;  yet  let  not  that  discourage  thee,  I  have  de¬ 
livered  them  into  thine  hand;”  and  those  can  make 
neither  resistance,  nor  escape,  whom  God  has 
marked  for  destruction. 

II.  Joshua  applies  h:mself  to  execute  this  resolve, 
and  God  assists  him  in  the  execution.  Here  we  have, 

1.  The  great  industry  of  Joshua,  and  the  power 
ot  God  working  with  that  for  the  defeat  of  the  ene¬ 
my.  In  this  action, 

(1.)  Joshua  showed  his  good-will  in  the  haste  he 
made  for  the  relief  of  Gibeon,  v.  9,  He  came  unto 
them  suddenly;  for  the  extremity  was  such  as  would 
not  admit  delay.  If  one  of  the  tribes  of  Israel  had 
been  in  danger,  he  could  not  have  showed  more 
care  or  zeal  for  its  relief  than  here  for  Gibeon,  re¬ 
membering  in  this,  as  in  other  cases,  there  must  be 
one  law  for  the  stranger  that  was  proselyted,  and 
for  him  that  was  born  in  the  land.  Scarcely  had 
the  confederate  princes  got  their  forces  together, 
and  sat  down  before  Gibeon,  when  Joshua  was  upon 
them,  the  surprise  of  which  would  put  them  into 
the  greatest  confusion.  Now  that  the  enemy  were 
actually  drawn  up  into  a  body,  which  had  all  as  it 
were  but  one  neck,  despatch  was  as  serviceable  to 
his  cause,  as  before  delay  was,  while  he  waited  for 
this  general  rendezvous;  and  now  that  things  were 
ripe  for  execution,  no  man  more  expeditious  than 
Joshua  who  before  had  seemed  slow.  Now,  it  shall 
never  be  said,  He  left  that  to  do  to-morrow  which 
he  could  do  to-day.  When  Joshua  found  he  could 
not  reach  Gibeon  in  a  day,  lest  he  should  lose  any 
real  advantages  against  the  enemy,  or  so  much  as 
seem*to  come  short,  or  to  neglect  h's  new  allies,  he 
marched  all  night,  resolving  not  to  give  sleep  to  his 
eyes,  nor  slumber  to  his  eve-lids,  till  he  had  accom¬ 
plished  this  enterprise.  It  was  well  the  forces  he 
took  with  him  were  mighty  men  of  valour,  not 
only  able-bodied  men,  but  men  of  spirit  and  resolu¬ 
tion,  and  hearty  in  the  cause,  else  they  neither 
could  nor  would  have  borne  this  fatigue,  but  would 
have  murmured  at  their  leader,  and  would  have 
asked,  "Is  this  the  rest  we  were  promised  in  Ca¬ 
naan?”  But  they  well  considered  that  the  present 
toil  was  in  order  to  a  happy  settlement,  and  there¬ 
fore  were  reconciled  to  it.  Let  the  good  soldiers 
of  Jesus  Christ  learn  from  hence  to  endure  hard¬ 
ness,  in  following  the  I.amb  whithersoever  he  goes, 
and  not  think  themselves  undone,  if  their  religion 
lose  them  now  and  then  a  night’s  sleep;  it  will  be 
enough  to  rest,  when  we  come  to  heaven. 


But  why  needed  Joshua  to  put  himself  and  his 
men  so  much  to  the  stretch?  Had  not  God  pro¬ 
mised  him,  that  without  fail  he  would  deliver  the 
enemies  into  his  hand ?  It  is  true  he  had;  but  God’s 
promises  are  intended,  not  to  slacken  and  super¬ 
sede,  but  to  quicken  and  encourage  our  endeavours. 
He  that  believeth,  doth  not  make  haste  to  antici¬ 
pate  providence,  but  doth  make  haste  to  attend  it, 
with  a  diligent,  not  a  distrustful  speed. 

(2.)  God  showed  his  great  power  in  defeating  the 
enemies  which  Joshua  so  vigorously  attacked,  v. 
10,  11.  Joshua  had  a  very  numerous  and  powerful 
army  with  him,  hands  enough  to  despatch  a  dis 
pirited  enemy,  so  that  the  enemy  might  have  been 
scattered  by  the  ordinary  fate  of  war;  but  God  him¬ 
self  would  appear  in  this  great  and  decisive  battle, 
and  draw  up  the  artillery  of  heaven  against  the 
Canaanites,  to  demonstrate  to  his  people,  that  they 
got  not  this  land  in  possession  by  their  own  sword, 
neither  did  their  own  arm  save  them,  but  God’s 
right  hand  and  his  arm,  Ps.  44.  3.  The  Lord  dis¬ 
comfited  them  before  Israel;  Israel  did  what  they 
could,  and  yet  God  did  all.  [1.]  It  must  needs  be 
a  very  great  terror  and  confusion  to  the  enemy,  to 
perceive  that  heaven  itself  fought  against  them;  for 
who  can  contest  with,  flee  from,  or  fence  against 
the  powers  of  heaven?  1'hey  had  affronted  the 
true  God,  and  robbed  him  of  his  honour,  by  wor¬ 
shipping  the  host  of  heaven,  giving  that  worship  to 
the  creature  which  is  due  to  the  Creator  only;  and 
now  the  host  of  heaven  fights  against  them,  and 
even  that  part  of  the  creation  which  they  had 
idolized,  is  at  war  with  them,  and  even  triumphs  in 
their  ruin,  Jer.  8.  2.  There  is  no  way  of  making 
any  creature  propitious  to  us,  no  not  by  sacrifice  or 
offering,  but  only  by  making  our  peace  with  God, 
and  keeping  ourselves  in  his  love.  This  had  been 
enough  to  make  them  an  easy  prey  to  the  victorious 
Israelites,  yet  this  was  not  all.  [2.]  Beside  the 
terror  struck  upon  them,  there  was  a  great  slaugh¬ 
ter  made  cf  them  by  hail-stones,  which  were  so 
large,  and  came  down  with  such  a  force,  that  more 
were  killed  by  the  hail-stones  than  by  the  sword  of 
the  Israelites,  though  no  doubt,  they  were  busy. 
God  himself  speaks  to  Job  of  treasures,  or  maga¬ 
zines,  of  snow  and  hail,  which  he  has  reserved  for 
the  day  of  battle  and  war,  Job  38.  22,  23.  and  here 
they  are  made  use  of  to  destroy  the  Canaanites. 
Here  was  hail  shot  from  God’s  great  ordinance, 
that,  against  whomsoever  it  was  directed,  was  sure 
to  hit,  (and  never  glanced  upon  the  Israelites 
mixed  with  them,)  and  whenever  it  hit  was  sure  to 
kill.  See  here  how  miserable  they  are,  that  have 
God  for  their  enemy,  and  how  sure  to  perish;  it  is 
a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  his  hands,  for  there  is  no 
fleeing  out  of  them.  Some  observe,  that  Beth- 
horon  lay  north  of  Gibeon,  Azekah  and  Makkedah 
lay  south,  so  that  they  fled  each  way;  by  which  way 
soever  they  fled,  the  hail-stones  pursued  them,  ancl 
met  them  at  every  turn. 

2.  The  great  faith  of  Joshua,  and  the  power  of 
God  crowning  that  with  the  miraculous  arrest  of 
the  sun,  that  the  day  of  Israel’s  victories  might  be 
prolonged,  and  so  the  enemy  totally  defeated.  The 
hail-stones  had  their  rise  no  higher  than  the  clouds, 
but,  to  show  that  Israel’s  help  came  from  above  the 
clouds,  the  sun  itself,  who  by  his  constant  motion 
serves  the  whole  earth,  by  halting  when  there  was 
occasion,  served  the  Israelites,  and  did  them  a  kind¬ 
ness;  the  sun  and  moon  stood  still  in  their  habitation, 
at  the  light  of  thine  arrowy  which  gave  ‘he  signal, 
Hab.  3.  13. 

(1.)  Here  is  the  praver  of  Joshua  that  the  sun 
might  stand  still.  I  call  it  his  prayer ,  because  it  is 
said,  v.  12,  he  spake  to  the  Lord;  as  Elijah,  though 
we  read,  1  Kings  17.  1.  only  by  his  prophesying  of 
the  drought,  yet  is  said,  James  5.  17,  to  pray  for  it 


JOSHUA,  X. 


Observe,  [1.]  An  instance  of  Joshua’s  unwearied 
activity  in  the  service  of  God  and  Israel,  that 
though  he  had  marched  all  night  and  fought  all 
day,  and,  one  might  expect,  would  be  inclined  to 
repose  himself  and  get  a  little  sleep,  and  give  his 
army  some  time  to  rest,  that,  like  the  hireling,  he 
would  earnestly  have  desired  the  shadow,  and  bid 
the  night  welcome,  when  he  had  done  such  a  good 
day’s  work,  yet,  instead  of  that,  he  wishes  for 
nothing  so  much  as  the  prolonging  of  the  day. 
Note,  Those  that  wait  on  the  Lord,  and  work  for 
him,  shall  renew  their  strength,  shall  run  and  not 
be  weaiQ/,  shall  walk  and  not  faint,  Isa.  40.  31. 
[2.]  An  instance  of  his  great  faith  in  the  almighty 
power  of  God,  as  above  the  power  of  nature,  and 
able  to  control  and  alter  the  usual  course  of  it.  No 
doubt,  Joshua  had  an  extraordinary  impulse  or  im¬ 
pression  upon  his  spirit,  which  he  knew  to  be  of 
divine  original,  prompting  him  to  desire  that  this 
miracle  might  be  wrought  upon  this  occasion,  else 
it  had  been  presumption  in  him  to  desire  or  expect 
it,  the  prayer  had  not  been  granted  by  the  divine 
power,  if  it  had  not  been  dictated  by  the  divine 
grace;  God  wrought  this  faith  in  him,  and  then  said, 
“  According  to  thy  faith,  and  thy  prayer  of  faith, 
be  it  unto  thee.”  It  cannot  be  imagined  however 
that  such  a  thing  as  this  should  have  entered  into 
his  mind,  if  God  had  not  put  it  there;  a  man  would 
have  had  a  thousand  projects  in  his  head  for  the 
completing  of  the  victory,  before  he  would  have 
thought  of  desiring  the  sun  to  stand  still;  but  even 
in  the  Old  Testament  saints,  the  Spirit  made  inter¬ 
cession  according  to  the  will  of  God;  what  God  will 
give,  he  inclines  the  hearts  of  his  praying  people  to 
ask;  and  for  what  he  will  do,  he  will  be  inquired 
of,  Ezek.  36.  37. 

Now,  First,  It  looked  great  for  Joshua  to  say, 
Sun,  stand  thou  still.  His  ancestor  Joseph  had  in¬ 
deed  dreamed  that  the  sun  and  moon  did  obeisance 
to  him;  but  who  would  have  thought  that,  after  it 
had  been  fulfilled  in  the  figure  it  should  again  be 
fulfilled  in  the  letter  to  one  of  his  posterity.  The 
prayer  is  thus  expressed  with  authority,  because  it 
was  not  an  ordinary  prayer,  such  as  is  directed  and 
supported  only  by  God’s  common  providence  or 
promise,  but  the  prayer  of  a  prophet  at  this  time 
divinely  inspired  for  this  purpose;  and  yet  it  inti¬ 
mates  to  us  the  prevalency  of  prayer  in  general,  so 
Ear  as  it  is  regulated  by  the  word  of  God,  and  may 
remind  us  of  that  honour  put  upon  prayer,  Isa.  45. 
11,  Concerning  the  work  of  my  hands,  command  ye 
me.  He  bids  the  sun  stand  still  upon  Gibeon,  the 
place  of  action  and  the  seat  of  the  war,  intimating 
that  what  he  designed  in  this  request,  was,  the  ad¬ 
vantage  of  Israel  against  their  enemies;  it  is  proba¬ 
ble  that  the  sun  was  now  declining,  and  that  he  did 
not  call  for  the  lengthening  out  of  the  day,  until  he 
observed  it  hastening  toward  its  period.  He  does 
likewise,  in  the  name  of  the  King  of  kings,  arrest 
the  moon,  perhaps  because  it  was  requisite  for  the 
preserving  of  the  harmony  and  good  order  of  the 
spheres,  that  the  course  of  the  rest  of  the  heavenly 
bodies  should  be  stayed  likewise,  otherwise,  while 
the  sun  shone,  he  needed  not  the  moon;  and  here 
he  mentions  the  valley  of  Ajalon,  which  was  near 
to  Gibeon,  because  there  he  was  at  that  time. 

Secondly,  It  was  bold  indeed  to  say  so  before  Is¬ 
rael,  and  argues  a  very  strong  assurance  of  faith. 
If  the  event  had  not  answered  the  demand,  nothing 
could  have  been  a  greater  slur  upon  him;  the  Israel¬ 
ites  would  have  concluded  he  was  certai  .ly  going 
mad,  or  he  had  never  talked  so  extravagantly.  But 
he  knew  very  well  God  would  own  and  answer  *a 
petition  which  he  himself  directed  to  be  drawn  up 
and  presented,  and  therefore  was  not  afraid  to  say 
before  all  Israel,  calling  them  to  observe ‘this  work 
of  wonder  Sun,  stand  thou  still,  for  he  was  confi¬ 


dent  in  him  whom  he  had  trusted.  He  believed 
the  almighty  power  of  God;  else  he  could  not  have 
expected  that  the  sun,  going  on  in  its  strength, 
driving  in  a  full  career,  and  rejoicing  as  a  strong . 
man  to  run  a  race,  should  be  stopped  in  an  instant. 
He  believed  the  sovereignty  of  God  in  the  kingdom 
of  nature;  else  he  could  not  have  expected  that  the 
established  law  and  course  of  nature  should  be 
changed  and  interrupted,  the  ordinances  of  heaven, 
and  the  constant  usage  according  to  these  ordi¬ 
nances,  broken  in  upon.  And  he  belie\ed  God’s 
particular  favour  to  Israel  above  all  people  under 
the  sun;  else  he  could  not  have  expected,  that,  to 
favour  them  upon  an  emergency  with  a  double  day, 
he  should  (which  must  follow  of  course)  amuse  and 
terrify  so  great  a  part  of  the  terrestrial  globe  with 
a  double  night  at  the  same  time;  it  is  true,  he 
causeth  the  sun  to  shine  upon  the  just  and  the  un¬ 
just,  but  this  once  the  unjust  shall  wait  f<tr  it  be¬ 
yond  the  usual  time,  while,  in  favour  to  righteous 
Israel,  it  stands  still. 

(2.)  The  wonderful  answer  to  this  prayer.  No 
sooner  said  than  done,  v.  13,  The  sun  stood  still, 
and  the  moon  stayed.  Notwithstanding  the  vast 
distance  between  the  earth  and  the  sun,  at  the 
word  of  Joshua,  the  sun  stopped  immediately;  for 
the  same  God  that  rules  in  heaven  above,  rules  at 
the  same  time  on  this  earth,  and,  when  he  pleases, 
even  the  heavens  shall  hear  the  earth,  as  here.  Con¬ 
cerning  this  great  miracle,  it  is  here  said,  [1.]  That 
it  continued  a  whole  day,  that  is,  the  sun  continued 
as  long  again  above  the  horizon,  as  otherwise  it 
would  have  done.  It  is  commonly  supposed  to 
have  been  about  the  middle  of  summer  that  this 
happened,  when,  in  that  country,  it  was  about  four¬ 
teen  hours  between  sun  and  sun,  so  that  this  day 
was  about  twenty-eight  hours  long;  yet  if  we  sup¬ 
pose  it  to  have  been  at  that  time  of  the  year  when 
the  days  are  at  the  shortest,  it  will  be  the  more 
probable  that  Joshua  should  desire  and  pray  for  the 
prolonging  of  the  day.  [2.]  That  hereby  the  peo¬ 
ple  had  full  time  to  avenge  themselves  of  their  ene¬ 
mies,  and  to  give  them  a  total  defeat.  We  often 
read  in  history  of  battles  which  the  night  put  an  end 
to,  the  shadows  of  which  favoured  the  retreat  of 
the  conquered;  to  prevent  this  advantage  to  the 
enemy  in  their  flight,  the  day  was  doubled,  that  the 
hand  of  Israel  might  find  out  all  their  enemies;  but 
the  eye  and  hand  of  Gcd  can  find  them  out  without 
the  help  of  the  sun’s  light,  for  to  him  the  night 
shineth  as  the  day,  Ps.  139.  12.  Note,  Sometimes 
God  completes  a  great  salvation  in  a  little  time,  and 
makes  but  one  day’s  work  of  it.  Perhaps  this 
miracle  is  alluded  to,  Zech.  14.  6,  7.  where  the  day 
of  God’s  fighting  against  the  nations  is  said  to  be 
one  day,  and  that  at  evening-time  it  shall  be  light, 
as  here.  And,  [3.]  That  there  was  never  any  day 
like  it,  before  or  since,  in  which  God  put  such  an 
honour  upon  faith  and  prayer,  and  Israel’s  cause; 
never  did  he  so  wonderfully  comply  with  the  re¬ 
quest  of  a  man,  or  so  wonderfully  fight  for  his  peo¬ 
ple.  [4.]  This  is  said  to  be  written  in  the  book  of 
Jasher,  a  collection  of  state-poems,  in  which  the 
poem  made  upon  this  occasion  was  preserved 
among  the  rest;  probably,  the  same  with  that  book 
of  the  wars  of  the  Lord,  Numb.  21.  14.  which  af¬ 
terward  wras  continued  and  carried  on  by  one 
Jasher.  Those  words,  Sun,  stand  thou  still  upon 
Gibeon,  and  thou  moon,  in  the  valley  of  yljalon, 
sounding  metrical,  are  supposed  to  be  taken  from 
the  narrative  of  this  event,  as  it  was  found  in  the 
book  of  Jasher.  Not  that  the  divine  testimony  of 
the  book  of  Joshua  needed  any  confirmation  from 
the  book  of  Jasher,  a  human  composition:  but  to 
those  who  had  that  book  in  their  hands,  it  would  be 
of  use  to  compare  this  history  with  it;  which  war 
rants  the  appeals  the  learned  make  to  profane  his- 


56 


JOSHUA,  X. 


lory  for '  corroborating  the  proofs  of  the  truth  of 
sacred  history. 

But  surely  this  stupendous  miracle  of  the  stand- 
•  ing  still  of  the  sun,  was  intended  for  something 
more  than  merely  to  give  Israel  so  much  the  more 
time  to  find  out  and  kill  their  enemies,  which,  with¬ 
out  this,  might  have,  been  done  the  next  day. 
First,  God  would  hereby  magnify  Joshua,  ch.  3.  7. 
as  a  particular  favourite,  and  one  whom  he  did  de¬ 
light  to  honour;  being  a  type  of  Him  who  has  all 
power  both  in  heaven  and  in  earth,  and  whom  the 
winds  and  the  seas  obey.  Secondly,  He  would 
hereby  notify  to  all  the  world  what  he  was  doing 
for  his  people  Israel  here  in  Canaan;  the  sun,  the 
eye  of  the  world,  must  be  fixed  for  some  hours 
upon  Gibeon,  and  the  valley  of  Ajalon,  as  if  to  con¬ 
template  the  great  works  of  God  there  for  Israel, 
and  so  t^o  engage  the  children  of  men  to  look  that 
way,  and  to  inquire  of  this  %vonder  done  in  the  land, 
(2  Chron.  32.  31.)  Proclamation  was  hereby  made 
to  all  the  neighbouring  nations,  Come,  behold  the 
works  of  the  Lord,  Ps.  46.  8.  and  say,  “  What  na¬ 
tion  is  there  so  great  as  Israel  is,  who  has  God  so 
nigh  unto  them?  One  would  have  supposed  this 
would  have  brought  such  real  ambassadors  as  the 
Gibeonites  pretended  to  be,  from  a  very  far  coun¬ 
try,  to  court  the  friendship  of  Israel  because  of  the 
name  of  the  Lord  their  God.  Thirdly,  He  would 
hereby  convince  and  confound  those  idolaters  that 
worshipped  the  sun  and  moon,  and  gave  divine 
honour  to  them,  by  demonstrating  that  they  were 
subject  to  the  command  of  the  God  of  Israel,  and 
that,  as  high  as  they  were,  he  was  above  them;  and 
thus  he  would  fortify  his  people  against  the  temp¬ 
tations  to  this  idolatry,  which  he  foresaw  they 
would  be  addicted  to,  (Deut.  4.  19.)  and  which, 
notwithstanding  this,  they  afterward  corrupted 
themselves  with.  Fourthly,  This  miracle  signified 
(it  is  the  learned  Bishop  Pierson’s  notion)  that  in  the 
latter  days,  when  the  light  of  the  world  was  tending 
towards  a  night  of  darkness,  the  Sun  of  righteous¬ 
ness,  even  our  Joshua,  should  arise,  (Mai.  4.  2.) 
give  check  to  the  approaching  night,  and  be  the 
true  light.  To  which  let  me  add,  that  when  Christ 
conquered  our  spiritual  enemies  upon  the  cross,  the 
miracle  wrought  upon  the  sun  was  the  reverse  of 
this,  it  was  then  darkened  as  if  it  were  gone  down 
at  noon,  for  Christ  needed  not  the  light  of  the  sun 
to  carry  on  his  victories,  he  then  made  dark¬ 
ness  his  pavilion:  and  lastly,  the  arresting  of  the 
sun  and  moon  in  this  day  of  battle,  figured  the  turn¬ 
ing  of  the  sun  into  darkness,  and  the  moon  iftto 
blood,  in  the  last  great  and  terrible  day  of  the  Lord. 

1 5.  And  Joshua  returned,  and  all  Israel 
with  him,  unto  the  camp  to  Gilgal.  16. 
But  these  five  kings  fled,  and  hid  themselves 
in  a  cave  at  Makkedah.  17.  And  it  was 
told  Joshua,  saying,  The  five  kings  are 
found  hid  in  a  cave  at  Makkedah.  18. 
And  Joshua  said,  Roll  great  stones  upon  the 
mouth  of  the  cave,  and  set  men  by  it  for  to 
keep  them:  19.  And  stay  you  not,  but 
pursue  after  your  enemies,  and  smite  the 
hindmost  of  them ;  suffer  them  not  to  enter 
into  their  cities:  for  the  Lord  your  God 
hath  delivered  them  into  your  hand.  20. 
And  it  came  to  pass,  when  Joshua  and  the 
children  of  Israel  had  made  an  end  of  slay¬ 
ing  them  with  a  very  great  slaughter,  till 
they  were  consumed,  that  the  rest  which 
remained  of  them  entered  into  fenced  cities. 


21.  And  all  the  people  returned  to  the 
camp  to  Joshua  at  Makkedah  in  peace : 
none  moved  his  tongue  against  any  of  the 
children  of  Israel.  22.  Then  said  Joshua, 
Open  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  and  bring  out 
those  five  kings  unto  me  out  of  the  cave. 
23.  And  they  did  so,  and  brought  forth 
those  five  kings  unto  him  out  of  the  cave, 
the  king  of  Jerusalem,  the  king  of  Hebron, 
the  king  of  Jarmuth,  the  king  of  Ijachish, 
and  the  king  of  Eglon.  24.  And  it  came 
to  pass,  when  they  brought  out  those  kings 
unto  Joshua,  that  Joshua  called  for  all  the 
men  of  Israel,  and  said  unto  the  captains 
of  the  men  of  war  which  went  with  him, 
Come  near,  put  your  feet  upon  the  necks 
of  these  kings.  And  they  came  near,  and 
put  their  feet  upon  the  necks  of  them.  25. 
And  Joshua  said  unto  them,  Fear  not,  nor 
be  dismayed,  be  strong  and  of  good  cou¬ 
rage  :  for  thus  shall  the  Lord  do  to  all  your 
enemies  against  whom  ye  fight.  26.  And 
afterward  Joshua  smote  them,  and  slew 
them,  and  hanged  them  on  five  trees :  and 
they  were  hanged  upon  the  trees  until  the 
evening.  27.  And  it  came  to  pass  at  the  time 
of  the  going  down  of  the  sun  ,that  Joshua  com¬ 
manded,  and  they  took  them  down  off  the 
.trees,  and  cast  them  into  the  cave  wherein 
they  had  been  hid,  and  laid  great  stones  in 
the  cave’s  mouth,  which  remain  until  this 
very  day. 

It  was  a  brave  appearance,  no  doubt,  which  the 
five  kings  made  when  they  took  the  field,  for  the 
reducing  of  Gibeon,  and  a  brave  army  they  had  fol¬ 
lowing  them;  but  they  were  all  routed,  put  into 
disorder  first,  and  then  brought  to  destruction,  by 
the  hail-stones.  And  now  Joshua  thought,  his 
work  being  done,  he  might  go  with  his  army  into 
quarters' of  refreshment:  accordingly  it  was  resolv¬ 
ed,  perhaps  in  a  council  of  war,  that  they  should 
presently  return  to  the  camp,  to  Gilgal,  v.  15.  till 
they  should  receive  orders  from  God  to  take  pos¬ 
session  of  the  country  they  had  pow  conquered;  but 
he  soon  finds  he  has  more  work  cut  out  for  him, 
the  victory  must  be  pursued,  that  the  spoils  might 
be  divided.  Accordingly  he  applies  himself  to  it 
with  renewed  vigour. 

I.  The  force  that  had  dispersed  themselves,  must 
be  folloAved  and  smitten.  When  tidings  are  brought 
to  Joshua  where  the  kings  were,  lie  ordered  a  guard 
to  be  set  upon  them  for  the  present,  v.  18.  reserv¬ 
ing  them  for  another  day  of  destruction,  and  to  be 
brought  forth  to  a  day  of  wrath,  Job  21.  30.  He 
directs  his  men  to  pursue  the  common  soldiers,  as 
much  as  might  be,  to  prevent  their  escaping  to  the 
garrisons,  which  would  strengthen  them,  and  make 
the  reduction  of  them  the  more  difficult,  v.  19. 
Like  a  prudent  general,  he  does  that  first,  which  is 
most  needful,  and  defers  his  triumphs  till  he  has 
completed  his  conquests;  nor  was  he  in  such  haste 
to  insult  over  the  captive  kings,  but  that  he  would 
first  prevent  the  rallying  again  of  their  scattered 
forces.  The  success  of  this  vigorous  pursuit,  was, 
1.  That  a  very  great  slaughter  was  made  of  the 
enemies  of  God  and  Israel.  And,  2.  The  field  was 
cleared  of  them,  so  that  none  remained  but  such  as 


57 


JOSHUA,  X. 


got  into  fenced  cities,  where  they  would  not  long  be 
safe  themselves,  nor  were  they  capable  of  doing  any 
service  to  the  cities  that  sheltered  them,  unless 
they  could  have  left  their  fears  behind  them.  3. 
J\'one  moved  his  toiigue  against  any  of  the  children 
of  Israel,  v.  21.  This  expression  intimates,  (1.) 
Their  perfect  safety  and  tranquillity:  some  think  it 
should  be  read,  from  Exod.  11.  7,  Against  any  of 
the  children  of  Israel  did  not  a  dog  move  his  tongue; 
no,  not  against  any  one  man  of  them.  They  were 
not  threatened  by  any  danger  at  all  after  their  vic¬ 
tory,  no,  not  so  much  as  the  barking  of  a  dog.  Not 
one  single  Israelite  (for  the  original  makes  it  so 
particular)  was  brought  into  any  distress,  either  in 
the  battle,  or  in  the  pursuit.  (2.)  Their  honour 
and  reputation;  no  man  had  any  reproach  to  cast 
upon  them,  or  an  ill  word  to  give  them.  God  not 
only  tied  the  hands,  but  stopped  the  mouths  of  their 
enraged  enemies,  and  put  lying  lips  to  silence.  (3. ) 
The  Chaldee  paraphrase  makes  it  an  expression  of 
their  unallayed  joy  for  this  victory,  reading  it, 
There  was  no  hurt  or  loss  to  the  children  of  Israel, 
for  which  any  man  should  afflict  his  soul.  When 
the  army  came  to  be  reviewed  after  the  battle, 
there  was  none  slain,  none  wounded,  none  missing, 
not  one  Israelite  had  occasion  to  lament  either  the 
loss  of  a  friend,  or  the  loss  of  a  limb.  So  cheap,  so 
easy,  so  glorious,  was  this  victory. 

If.  The  kings  that  had  hidden  themselves,  must 
now  be  called  to  an  account,  as  rebels  against  the 
Israel  of  God,  to  whom,  by  the  divine  promise  and 
grant,  this  land  did  of  right  belong,  and  should  have 
been  surrendered  upon  demand. 

See  here,  1.  How  they  were  secured.  The  cave 
which  they  fled  to,  and  trusted  in  for  a  refuge,  be¬ 
came  their  prison,  in  which  they  were  clapped  up, 
till  Joshua  sat  in  judgment  on  them,  v.  18.  It  seems, 
they  all  escaped  both  the  hail-stones  and  the  sword, 
God  so  ordering  it,  not  in  kindness  to  them,  but  that 
they  might  be  reserved  for  a  more  solemn  and  ter¬ 
rible  execution;  as,  for  this  cause,  Pharaoh  survived 
the  plagues  of  Egypt,  and  was  made  to  stand,  that 
God  might  in  him  show  his  /lower,  Exod.  9.  16. 
They  all  fled,  and  met  at  the  same  place,  Provi¬ 
dence  directing  them;  and  now  they  who  were 
lately  consulting  against  Israel,  were  put  upon  new 
counsels  to  preserve  themselves,  and  agreed  to  take 
shelter  in  the  same  cave.  The  information  brought 
to  Joshua  of  this,  is  an  evidence  that  there'  were 
those  of  the  country,  who  knew  the  holes  and  fast¬ 
nesses  of  it,  that  were  in  his  interests.  And  the  care 
Joshua  took  to  keep  them  there  when  they  were 
there,  as  it  is  an  instance  of  his  policy  and  presence 
of  mind,  even  in  the  heat  of  action;  so,  in  the  suc¬ 
cess  of  their  project,  it  shows  how  they  not  only 
deceive  themselves,  but  destroy  themselves,  who 
think  to  hide  themselves  from  God.  Their  refuge 
of  lies  will  but  bind  them  over  to  God’s  judgment. 

2.  How  they  were  triumphed  over.  Joshua  or¬ 
dered  them  to  be  brought  forth  out  of  the  cave,  set 
before  him  at  the  bar,  and  their  names  called  over, 
v.  22,  23.  And  when  they  either  were  bound  and 
cast  upon  the  ground,  unable  to  help  themselves, 
or  throw  themselves  upon  the  ground,  humbly  to 
beg  for  their  lives,  he  called  for  the  general  officers 
and  great  men,  and  commanded  them  to  trample 
upon  these  kings,  and  set  their  feet  upon  their 
necks;  not  in  sport,  and  to  make  themselves  and 
the  company  merry,  but  with  the  gravity  and  deco¬ 
rum  that  became  the  ministers  of  the  divine  justice, 
who  were  not  herein  to  gratify  any  pride  or  passion 
of  their  own,  but  to  give  glory  to  the  God  of  Israel 
as  higher  than  the  highest,  who  treads  ufion  jxrinces 
as  mortar,  (Isa.  41.  25.)  and  is  terrible  to  the  kings 
of  the  earth,  Ps.  76.  12.  The  thing  does  indeed 
look  barbarous,  thus  to  insult  over  men  in  misery, 
that  were  suddenly  fallen  from  the  highest  pitch  of 
Vol.  II.— H 


honour  into  this  disgrace;  it  was  hard  for  crowned 
heads  to  be  thus  trodden  upon,  not  by  Joshua  him¬ 
self,  (that  might  better  have  been  borne,)  at  least 
not  by  him  only,  but  by  all  the  captains  of  the  army; 
certainly  it  ought  not  to  be  drawn  into  a  precedent, 
for  the  case  was  extraordinary,  and  we  have  reason 
to  think  it  was  by  divine  direction  and  impulse  that 
Joshua  did  this.  (1. )  God  would  hereby  punish  the 
abominable  wickedness  of  these  kings,  the  measure 
of  whose  iniquity  was  now  full.  And  by  this  public 
act  of  justice  done  upon  these  ringleaders  of  the 
Canaanites  in  sin,  he  would  possess  his  people  with 
the  greater  dread  and  detestation  of  those  sins  of 
the  nations  that  God  cast  out  from  before  them, 
which  they  would  be  tempted  tb  imitate.  (2.)  He 
would  hereby  have  the  promise  by  Moses  made 
good,  (Deut.  33.  29.)  Thou  slialt  tread  u/ion  their 
high  places,  that  is,  their  great  men,  which  should 
the  rather  be  speedily  fulfilled  in  the  letter,  because 
they  are  the  very  last  words  of  Moses  that  we  find 
upon  record.  (3.)  He  would  hereby  encourage  the 
faith  and  hope  of  his  people  Israel,  in  reference  to 
the  wars  that  were  yet  before  them.  Therefore 
Joshua  said,  v.  25,  Fear  not,  nor  be  dismayed.  [1.] 
“  Fear  not  these  kings,  or  any  of  their’s,  as  if  there 
were  any  danger  of  having  this  affront  now  put  upon 
them,  in  after-time  revenged  upon  yourselves;  a 
consideration  which  keeps  many  from  being  inso¬ 
lent  toward  those  they  have  at  their  mercy,  because 
they  know  not  how  soon  the  uncertain  fate  of  war 
may  turn  the  same  wheel  upon  themselves;  but  you 
need  not  fear  that  any  should  rise  up  ever  to  re¬ 
venge  this  quarrel.”  [2.]  “Fear  net  any  other 
kings,  who  may  at  any  time  be  in  confederacy 
against  you,  for  you  see  these  brought  down,  whom 
you  thought  formidable.  Thus  shall  the  Lord  do 
to  all  your  enemies;  now  that  they  begin  to  fall,  to 
fall  so  low,  that  you  may  set  your  feet  on  their 
necks,  you  may  be  confident  they  shall  not  prevail, 
but  shall  surely  fall  before  you,"  Esth.  6.  13.  (4.) 

He  would  hereby  give  a  type  and  figure  of  Christ’s 
victories  over  the  powers  of  darkness,  and  believers’ 
victories  through  him.  All  the  enemies  of  the  Re¬ 
deemer  shall  be  made  his  footstool,  Ps.  110.  1. 
(And,  see  Ps.  18.  40.)  The  kings  of  the  earth  set 
themselves  against  him,  Ps.  2.  2.  but  sooner  or 
later  we  shall  see  all  things  put  under  him,  Heb.  2. 
,8.  and  principalities  and  powers  made  a  show  of, 
Col.  2.  15.  And  in  these  triumphs  we  are  more 
than  conquerors,  may  tread  upon  the  lion  and  adder, 
Ps.  91.  13.  may  ride  on  the  high  places  of  the  earth, 
Isa.  58.  14.  and  may  be  confident  that  the  God  of 
peace  shall  tread  Satan  under  our  feet,  shall  do  it 
shortly,  and  do  it  effectually,  Rom.  16.  20.  See 
Ps.  149.  8,  9. 

3.  How  they  were  put  to  death.  Perhaps  when 
they  had  undergone  that  terrible  mortification  of  be¬ 
ing  trodden  upon  bv  the  captains  of  Israel,  they 
were  ready  to  say,  as  Agag,  Surely  the  bitterness 
of  death  is  past,  and  that  sufficient  unto  them  was 
this  punishment  which  was  inflicted  by  many;  but 
their  honours  cannot  excuse  their  lives,  their  for¬ 
feited,  devoted  lives.  Joshua  smote  them  with  the 
sword,  and  then  hanged  up  their  bodies  till  evening, 
when  they  were  taken  down,  and  thrown  into  the 
cave  in  which  they  had  hid  themselves,  v.  26,  27. 
That  which  they  thought  would  have  been  their 
shelter,  was  made  their  prison  first,  and  then  their 
grave;  so  shall  we  be  disappointed  in  that  which  we 
flee  to  from  God,  yet  to  good  people  the  grave  is 
still  a  hiding-place,  Job.  i4.  13.  If  these  five  kings 
had  humbled  themselves  in  time,  and  had  begged 
peace  instead  of  waging  war,  they  might  have  sav¬ 
ed  tfieir  lives;  but  now  the  decree  was  gone  forth, 
and  th ev  found  no  place  for  repentance,  or  the  re¬ 
versal  of  the  judgment,  it  was  too  late  to  expect  it, 
though,  perhaps,  they  sought  it  carefully  with  tears. 


68  JOSHUA,  X. 


28.  And  that  clay  Joshua  took  Makke- 
dah,  and  smote  it  with  the  edge  of  the 
sword,  and  the  king  thereof  he  utterly  de¬ 
stroyed,  them,  and  all  the  souls  that  were 
therein ;  he  let  none  remain  :  and  he  did  to 
the  king  of  Makkedah  as  he  did  unto  the 
king  of  Jericho.  29.  Then  Joshua  passed 
from  Maickedah,  and  all  Israel  with  him, 
unto  Libnah,  and  fought  against  Libnah : 
30  And  the  Lord  delivered  it  also,  and  the 
king  thereof,  into  the  hand  of  Israel ;  and  he 
smote  it  with  the  edge  of  the  sword,  and  all 
the  souls  that  were  therein;  he  let  none  re¬ 
main  in  it ;  but  did  unto  the  king  thereof  as 
he  did  unto  the  king  of  Jericho.  31.  And 
Joshua  passed  from  Libnah,  and  all  Israel 
with  him,  unto  Lachish,  and  encamped 
against  it,  and  fought  against  it:  32.  And 
the  Lord  delivered  Lachish  into  the  hand 
of  Israel,  which  took  it  on  the  second  day, 
and  smote  it  with  the  edge  of  the  sword, 
and  all  the  souls  that  irere  therein,  accord¬ 
ing  to  all  that  he  had  done  to  Libnah.  33. 
Then  Horam  king  of  Gezer  came  up  to 
help  Lachish ;  and  Joshua  smote  him  and 
his  people,  until  he  had  left  him  none  re¬ 
maining.  34.  And  from  Lachish  Joshua 
passed  unto  Eglon,  and  all  Israel  with  him; 
and  they  encamped  against  it,  and  fought 
against  it:  35.  And  they  took  it  on  that 
day,  and  smote  it  with  the  edge  of  the 
sword ;  and  all  the  souls  that  were  therein 
he  utterly  destroyed  that  day,  according  to 
all  that  he  had  done  to  Lachish.  36.  And 
Joshua  went  up  from  Eglon,  and  all  Israel 
with  him,  unto  Hebron ;  and  they  fought 
against  it :  37.  And  they  took  it,  and  smote 
it  with  the  edge  of  the  sword,  and  the  king 
thereof,  and  all  the  cities  thereof,  and  all  the 
souls  that  were  therein ;  he  left  none  remain¬ 
ing,  according  to  all  that  he  had  done  to 
Eglon ;  but  destroyed  it  utterly,  and  all  the 
souls  that  were  therein.  38.  And  Joshua 
returned,  and  all  Israel  with  him,  to  Debir, 
and  fought  against  it :  39.  And  he  took  it, 

and  the  king  thereof,  and  all  the  cities 
thereof;  and  they  smote  them  with  the  edge 
of  the.sword,  and  utterly  destroyed  all  the 
souls  that  ivere  therein  ;  he  left  none  remain¬ 
ing:  as  he  had  done  to  Hebron,  so  he  did 
to  Debir,  and  to  the  king  thereof;  as  he  had 
done  also  to  Libnah,  and  to  her  king.  40. 
So  Joshua  s  note  all  the  country  of  the  hills, 
and  of  the  south,  and  of  the  vale,  and  of  the 
springs,  and  all  their  kings:  he  left  none 
remaining,  but  utterly  destroyed  all  that 
breathed,  as  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  com¬ 
manded.  41.  And  Joshua  smote  them  from 
Kadesh-barnea  even  unto  Gaza,  and  all  the 
country  of  Goshen  even  unto  Gibeon  42. 


And  all  these  kings  and  their  land  did  Josh¬ 
ua  take  at  one  time,  because  the  Lord 
God  of  Israel  fought  for  Israel.  43.  And 
Joshua  returned,  and  all  Israel  with  him, 
unto  the  camp  to  Gilgal. 

We  have  here  Joshua’s  improvement  of  the  late 
glorious  victory  he  had  obtained,  and  the  advan¬ 
tages  he  had  gained  by  it,  and  to  do  this  well  is 
a  general’s  praise. 

I.  Here  is  a  particular  account  of  the  several 

cities  which  he  immediately  made  himself  mastei 
of.  1.  The  cities  of  three'  of  the  kings  whom  lit 
had  conquered  in  the  field,  he  went  and  took  pos¬ 
session  of,  Lachish,  v.  31,  32.  Eglon,  v.  34,  35.  and 
Hebron,  v.  36,  37.  The  other  two,  Jerusalem  and 
Jarmuth,  were  not  taken  at  this  time;  perhaps  his 
forces  were  either  so  much  fatigued  with  what  they 
had  done,  or  so  well  content  with  what  they  had 
got,  that  they  had  no  mind  to  attack  those  places, 
and  so  they  slipped  the  fairest  opportunity  they 
could  ever  expect  of  reducing  them  with  ease, 
which  afterward  was  not  done  without  difficulty, 
Judg.  1.  1.  2  Sam.  5.  6.  2.  Three  other  cities,  and 

royal  cities  too,  he  took;  Makkedah,  into  the  neigh¬ 
bourhood  of  which  the  five  kings  were  fled,  which 
brought  Joshua  and  his  forces  thither  in  pursuit  of 
them,  and  so  hastened  its  ruin,  v.  28.  Libnah,  v.  29, 
30.  and  Debir,  v.  38,  39.  3.  One  king  that  brought 
in  his  forces  for  the  relief  of  Lachish,  that  had  iost 
its  king,  proved  to  meddle  to  his  own  hurt;  it  was 
Horam  king  of  Gezer,  who,  either  in  friendship  to 
his  neighbours,  or  for  his  own  security,  offered  to 
stop  the  progress  of  Joshua’s  arms,  and  was  cut  off 
with  all  his  forces,  v.  33.  Thus  wicked  men  are 
often  snared  in  their  counsels,  and,  by  opposing  God 
in  the  way  of  his  judgments,  bring  them  the  sooner 
on  their  own  heads. 

II.  A  general  account  of  the  country  which  was 
hereby  reduced  and  brought  into  Israel’s  hands,  v . 
40--42.  The  part  of  the  land  of  Canaan  winch 
they  first  got  possession  of  lay  south  of  Jerusalem, 
and  afterward  fell,  for  the  most  part,  to  the  lot  of 
the  tribe  of  Judah. 

Observe  in  this  narrative,  1.  The  great  speed 
Joshua  made  in  taking  these  cities,  which,  some 
think,  is  intimated  in  the  manner  of  relating  it, 
which  is  quick  and  concise.  He  flew  like  lightning 
from  place  to  place;  and  though  they  all  stood  it  out 
to  the  last  extremity,  and  none  of  these  cities  open¬ 
ed  their  gates  to  him,  yet  in  a  little  time  he  got 
them  all  into  his  hands,  summoned  them,  and 
seized  them,  the  same  day,  v.  28.  or  in  two  days,  v . 
32.  Now  that  they  were  struck  with  fear  by  the 
defeat  of  their  armies,  and  the  death  of  their  kings, 
Joshua  prudently  followed  his  blow.  See  what  a 
great  deal  of  work  may  be  done  in  a  little  time,  if 
we  will  but  be  busy,  and  improve  our  opportunities. 
2.  The  great  severity  Joshua  used  toward  those  he 
conquered.  He  gave  no  quarter  to  man,  woman, 
or  child,  put  to  the  sword  all  the  souls,  v.  28,  30, 
32,  35,  &c.  utterly  destroyed  all  that  breathed,  v. 
40.  and  left  none  remaining.  Nothing  could  justify 
this  militarv  execution,  but  that  herein  they  did  as 
the  Lord  God  of  Israel  commanded,  v.  40.  which 
was  sufficient  not  only  to  bear  them  out,  and  save 
them  from  the  imputation  of  cruelty,  but  to  sanctify 
what  they  did,  and  make  it  an  acceptable  piece  of 
service  to  his  justice.  God  would  hereby,  (1.) 
Manifest  his  hatred  of  the  idolatries,  and  other 
abominations,  which  the  Canaanites  had  been 
guilty  of,  and  leave  us  to  judge  how  great  the  pro¬ 
vocation  was,  which  they  had  given  him,  by  the 
greatness  of  the  destruction  which  was  brought 
upon  them  when  the  measure  of  their  iniquity  was 
full.  (2.)  He  would  hereby  magnify  nis  love  to  his 


59 


JOSHUA,  XL 


people  Israel,  in  giving  so  many  men  for  them, 
and  fieofile  for  their  life,  Isa.  -13.  4.  when  the  hea¬ 
then  are  to  be  cast  out  to  make  room  for  this  vine, 
(Ps.  80.  8.)  Divine  justice  appears  more  prodigal 
than  ever  of  human  blood,  that  the  Israelites  might 
find  themselves  for  ever  obliged  to  spend  their 
lives  to  the  glory  of  that  God,  who  had  sacrificed 
so  many  of  the  lives  of  his  creatures  to  their  inter¬ 
est.  (3.)  Hereby  was  typified  the  final  and  eternal 
destruction  of  all  the  impenitent  implacable  enemies 
of  the  Lord  Jesus,  who  having  slighted  the  riches 
of  his  grace,  must  for  ever  feel  the  weight  of  his 
wrath;  and  shall  have  judgment  without  mercy. 
Nations  that  forget  God,  shall  be  turned  into  hell, 
and  no  reproach  at  all  to  God’s  infinite  goodness. 
3.  Lhe  great  success  of  this  expedition.  The  spoil 
of  these  cities  was  now  divided  among  the  men  of 
war  that  plundered  them;  and  the  cities  themselves, 
with  the  land  about  them,  were  shortly  to  be  di¬ 
vided  among  the  tribes,  for  the  Lord  fought  for 
Israel,  v.  42.  They  could  not  have  gotten  the  vic¬ 
tory,  if  God  had  not  undertaken  the  battfe;  then  we 
conquer  when  God  fights  for  us;  and  if  he  be  for 
us,  who  can  be  against  us? 

CHAP.  XI. 

This  chapter  continues  and  concludes  the  history  of  the 
conquest  of  Canaan  ;  of  the  reduction  of  the  southern 
parts  we  had  an  account  in  the  foregoing  chapter  ;  after 
which  we  may  suppose  Joshua  allowed  his  forces  some 
breathing-time  ;  now  here  we  have  the  story  of  the  war 
in  the  north,  and  the  happy  success  of  that  war.  I.  The 
confederacy  of  the  northern  crowns  against  Israel,  v. 
4 . .  5.  II.  The  encouragement  wluch  God  gave  to 
Joshua  to  engage  them,  v.  6.  Ill.^iis  victory  over 
them,  v.  7  . .  9.  IV.  The  taking  of  their  cities,  v.  10  .  . 
15.  V.  The  destruction  of  the  Anakims,  v.  21,  22.  VI. 
The  general  conclusion  of  the  story  of  this  war,  16 .  . 
20,  23. 

I.  4  ND  it  came  to  pass,  when  Jabin  king; 

zJL  of  Hazor  had  heard  those  things , 
that  he  sent  to  Jobab  king  of  Madon,  and 
to  the  king  of  Shimron,  and  to  the  king  of 
Achshaph,  2.  And  to  the  kings  that  were 
on  the  north  of  the  mountains,  and  of  the 
plains  south  ofChinneroth,  and  in  the  valley, 
and  in  the  borders  of  Dor  on  the  west, 
3.  And  to  the  Canaanite  on  the  east  and 
on  the  west,  and  to  the  Amorite,  and  the 
Hittite,  and  the  Perizzite,  and  the  Jebusite 
in  the  mountains,  and  to  the  Hivite  under 
Hermon,  in  the  land  of  Mizpeh.  4.  And 
they  went  out,  they  and  all  their  hosts  with 
them,  much  people,  even  as  the  sand  that 
is  upon  the  sea-shore  in  multitude,  with 
horses  and  chariots  very  many.  5.  And 
when  all  these  kings  were  met  together, 
they  came  and  pitched  together  at  the 
waters  of  Merom,  to  fight  against  Israel. 
6.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Joshua,  Be  not 
afraid  because  of  them:  for  to-morrow 
about  this  time  will  I  deliver  them  up  all 
slain  before  Israel :  thou  shalt  hough  their 
horses,  and  burn  their  chariots  with  fire.  7. 
So  Joshua  came,  and  all  the  people  of  war 
with  him,  against  them  by  the  waters  of 
Merom  suddenly;  and  they  fell  upon  them. 
8.  And  the  Lord  delivered  them  into  the 
hand  of  Israel,  who  smote  them,  and 


chased  them  unto  great  Zidon,  and  unto 
Misrephoth-maim,  and  unto  the  valley  of 
Mizpeh  eastward;  and  they  smote  them, 
until  they  left  them  none  remaining.  9. 
And  Joshua  did  unto  them  as  the  Lord 
bade  him :  he  houghed  their  horses,  and 
burnt  their  chariots  with  fire. 

We  are  here  entering  upon  the  story  cf  another 
campaign  that  Joshua  made,  and  it  was  a  glorious 
one,  no  less  illustrious  than  the  former  in  the  suc¬ 
cess  of  it,  though  in  respect  of  miracles,  it  was  in¬ 
ferior  to  it  in  glory.  The  wonders  God  then 
wrought  for  them,  were  to  initiate  and  encourage 
them  to  act  vigorously  themselves.  Thu  the  war 
carried  on  by  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel  against 
Satan’s  kingdom,  was  at  first  forwarded  by  mira¬ 
cles;  but  the  war  being  by  them  sufficiently  proved 
to  be  of  God,  the  managers  of  it  are  now  left  to  the 
ordinary  assistance  of  divine  grace  in  the  use  cf  the 
sword  of  the  Spirit,  and  must  not  expect  hail¬ 
stones,  or  the  standing  still  of  the  sun. 

In  this  story  we  have, 

I.  The  Canaanites  taking  the  field  against  Israel. 
Thev  were  the  aggressors,  God  hardening  their 
he  rts  to  begin  the  war,  that  Israel  might  be  justi¬ 
fied  beyond  exception  in  destroying  them.  Joshua 
and  all  Israel  were  returned  to  the  camp  at  Gilgal, 
and  perhaps  these  kings  knew  no  other  than  that 
they  intended  to  sit  down  content  with  the  conquest 
they  had  already  made,  and  yet  they  prepare  war 
against  them.  Note,  Sinners  bring  ruin  upon  their 
own  heads,  so  that  God  will  be  justified  when  he 
sfieaks,  and  they  alone  shall  bare  the  blame  for 
e  er.  Judah  was  now  couched  as  a  lion  gone  ufi 
from  the  firey;  if  the  northern  kings  rouse  him  up, 
it  is  at  their  peril,  Gen.  49.  9.  Now, 

I.  Several  nations  joined  in  this  confederacy, 
seme  in  the  mountains,  and  some  in  the  plains,  v. 
2.  Canaanites  from  east  and  west,  Amorites,  Hit- 
tites,  Perizzites,  £cc.  v.  3.  of  different  constitutions, 
and  divided  interests  among  themselves,  and  yet 
they  here  unite  against  Israel,  as  against  a  common 
enemy.  Thus  are  the  children  of  this  world  more 
unanimous,  and  therein  wiser,  than  the  children  of 
light.  The  oneness  of  the  church’s  enemies  should 
shame  the  church’s  friends  out  of  their  discords  and 
divisions,  and  engage  them  to  be  one.  2.  The  head 
of  this  confederacy  was  Jabin  king  of  Hazor,  v.  1. 
as  Adoni-zedek  was  of  the  former;  it  is  said,  v.  10. 
Hazor  had  been  the  head  of  all  those  kingdorns, 
which  could  not  have  revolted,  without  occasioning 
ill-will;  but  that  was  forgotten  and  laid  aside  upon 
this  occasion,  by  consent  of  parties,  (Luke  23.  12.) 
When  they  had  all  drawn  up  their  forces  together, 
every  kingdom  bringing  in  its  quota,  they  were  a 
very  great  army,  much  greater  than  the  former,  as 
the  sand  on  the  sea-shore  in  multitude,  and,  upon 
this  account,  much  stronger  and  more  formidable, 
that  they  had  horses  and  chariots  very  many,  which 
we  do  not  find  the  southern  kings  had;  thereby  they 
had  a  great  advantage  against  Israel,  for  their  army 
consisted  only  of  foot,  and  they  never  brought 
horses  or  chariots  into  the  field.  Josephus  tells  us, 
that  the  army  of  the  Canaanites  consisted  of  three 
hundred  thousand  foot,  ten  thousand  horse,  and 
twenty  thousand  chariots.  Many  there  be  tha  rise 
ufi  against  God’s  Israel;  doubtless  their  nui  ibers 
made  them  very  confident  of  success,  but  it  proved 
that  so  much  the  greater  slaughter  was  made  of 
them. 

II.  The  encouragement  God  gave  to  Joshua  to 
give  them  the  meeting,  even  upon  the  ground  of 
their  own  choosing,  v.  6,  Be  not  afraid  because  oj 
thein.  Joshua  was  remarkable  for  his  courage,  it 


60 


JOSHUA,  XI. 


was  his  master-grace,  and  yet  it  seems,  he  had  need  i 
to  be  again  and  again  cautioned  not  to  be  afraid.  | 
Fresh  dangers  and  difficulties  make  it  necessary  to 
fetch  in  fresh  supports  and  comforts  from  the  word  ■ 
of  God,  which  we  have  always  nigh  unto  us,  to  be 
made  use  of  in  every  time  of  need.  Those  that 
ha\  e  God  on  their  side,  need  not  be  disturbed  at  the 
number  and  power  of  their  enemies;  more  are  they 
that  are  with  us,  than  they  that  are  against  us;  they 
ha*  e  the  hosts  of  the  Lord,  that  have  the  Lord  of 
hosts  engaged  for  them.  For  his  encouragement, 

1.  God  assures  him  ot  success,  and  fixes  the  hour; 
T j-morrow  about  this  time,  when  an  engagement 
(it  is  probable)  was  expected  and  designed  on  both 
sides,  I  will  deliver  them  u/i  slain.  Though  they 
were  to  be  slain  by  the  sword  of  Israel,  yet  it  is 
spoken  of  as  God’s  work,  that  he  would  deliver 
them  up.  2.  He  appoints  him  to  hough  their 
horses,  hamstring  them,  lame  them,  and  burn  their 
chariots,  not  only  that  Israel  might  not  use  them 
hereafter,  but  that  they  might  not  fear  them  now, 
their  God  designing  this  contempt  to  be  put  upon 
them.  Let  Israel  look  upon  their  chariots  but  as 
rotten  wood  designed  for  the  fire,  and  their  horses 
of  war  as  disabled  things,  scarcely  good  enough  for  \ 
the  cart. 

This  encouragement  which  God  here  gave  to 
Joshua,  no  doubt,  he  communicated  to  the  people,  | 
who  perhaps  were  under  some  apprehensions  of  I 
danger  from  this  vast  army,  notwithstanding  the  | 
experiences  they  had  had  of  God’s  power  engaged 
for  them.  And'the  wisdom  and  goodness  of  God  is 
to  be  observed,  (1.)  In  infatuating  the  counsels  of 
the  enemy,  that  all  the  kings  of  Canaan,  who  were 
not  dispersed  at  such  a  distance  from  each  other, 
but  that  they  might  have  got  altogether  in  a  bodv, 
did  not  at  first  confederate  against  Israel,  but  were 
divided  into  the  southern  and  northern  comb’nation, 
and  so  became  less  formidable.  And,  (2.)  In  pre¬ 
paring  his  people  to  encounter  the  greater  force,  by 
breaking  the  less.  They  first  engage  with  five 
kings  together,  and  now  with  many  more.  God 
propoitions  our  trials  to  our  strength,  and  our 
strength  to  our  trials. 

III.  J  shua’s  march  against  these  confederate 
forces,  v.  7,  He  came  u/ion  them  suddenly,  and 
surprised  them  in  their  quarters.  He  made  this  i 
haste,  1.  That  he  might  put  them  into  the  greater  j 
confusion,  by  giving  them  an  alarm,  when  they  1 
l^tle  thought  lie  had  been  near  them.  2.  That  lie 
might  be  sure  not  to  come  short  of  the  honour  God  j 
had  fixed,  to  give  him  the  meeting  at  the  enemy’s 
camp,  to-morrow  about  this  time.  It  is  fit  we 
should  keep  time  with  God. 

IV.  His  success,  v.  8.  He  obtained  the  honour 
and  advantage  of  a  complete  victory;  he  smote 
than  and  chased  them,  in  the  several  ways  they 
t  >  ik  in  their  flight;  some  fled  toward  Zidon,  which 
l.y  to  the  north-west,  others  toward  Mizpeh,  east¬ 
ward,  both  the  parties  Joshua  sent  out,  pursued 
them  each  way.  So  the  Lord  delivered  them  into 
the  hand  of  Israel-,  they  would  not  deliver  them¬ 
selves  into  the  hands  of  Israel  to  be  made  proselytes 
and  tributaries,  and  so  offered  up  to  God’s  grace, 
Rom.  15.  16.  and  therefore  God  delivered  them 
into  their  hands  to  be  made  sacrifices  to  his  justice; 
for  God  will  be  honoured  by  us  or  upon  us. 

V.  His  obedience  to  the  orders  given  him,  in 
destroying  the  horses  and  chariots,  v.  9.  which  was 
an  instance,  1.  Of  his  subjection  to  the  divine  will, 
as  one  under  authority,  that  must  do  as  he  is  bid¬ 
den.  2.  Of  his  self-denial,  and  crossing  his  own 
genius  and  inclination  in  compliance  with  God’s 
command.  3.  Of  his  confidence  in  the  power  of 
God  engaged  for  Israel,  which  enabled  them  to 
despise  the  chariots  and  horses  which  others  trusted 
in,  rs.  20.  7. — 33.  17.  4.  Of  his  care  to  keep  up  in 


the  people  the  like  confidence  in  God,  by  taking 
that  from  them,  which  they  would  be  tempted  te 
trust  too  much  to.  This  was  cutting  off  a  right 
hand. 

10.  And  Joshua  at  that  time  turned  back, 
and  took  Hazor,  and  smote  the  king  there¬ 
of  with  the  sword:  for  Hazor  beforetime 
was  the  head  of  all  those  kingdoms.  1 1 . 
And  they  smote  all  the  souls  that  were 
therein  with  the  edge  of  the  sword,  utterly 
destroying  them :  there  was  not  any  left  to 
breathe :  and  he  burnt  Hazor  with  fire. 
12.  And  all  the  cities  of  those  kings,  and 
all  the  kings  of  them,  did  Joshua  take,  and 
smote  them  with  the  edge  of  the  sword ; 
and  he  utterly  destroyed  them,  as  Moses  the 
servant  of  the  Lord  commanded.  13. 
But  as  for  the  cities  that  stood  still  in  theii 
strength,  Israel  burned  none  of  them,  save 
Hazor  only ;  that  did  Joshua  burn.  1 4. 
And  all  the  spoil  of  these  cities,  and  the 
cattle,  the  children  of  Israel  took  for  a  prey 
unto  themselves  ;  but  every  man  they  smote 
with  the  edge  of  the  sword,  until  they  had 
destroyed  them,  neither  left  they  any  to 
breathe. 

We  have  here  the  same  improvement  made  of 
this  victory,  that  was  of  that  in  the  foregoing  chap¬ 
ter. 

1.  The  destruction  of  Hazor  is  particulai  lv  re¬ 
corded,  because  in  it,  and  by  the  king  thereof,  this 
daring  design  against  Israel  was  laid,  v.  10,  11. 
The  king  of  Hazor,  it  seems,  escaped  with  his  life 
out  of  the  battle,  and  thought  himself  safe  when  he 
was  got  back  into  his  own  city,  and  Joshua  was  gone 
in  pursuit  of  the  scattered  troops  another  way;  but 
it  proved  that  that  which  he  thought  would  have 
been  for  his  welfare,  was  his  trap,  in  it  he  was  taken 
as  in  an  evil  net,  there  he  was  slain,  and  his  city, 
for  his  sake,  burnt.  Yet  we  find  that  the  remains 
of  it  being  not  well-looked  after  by  Israel,  the  Ca- 
naanites  rebuilt  it,  and  settled  there  under  another 
king  of  the  same  name,  Judg.  4.  2. 

2.  The  rest  of  the  cities  of  that  part  of  the  coun¬ 
try  are  spoken  of  only  in  general;  that  Joshua  got 
them  all  into  his  hands,  but  did  not  burn  them  as  he 
did  Hazor,  for  Israel  was  to  dwell  in  great  and 
goodly  cities  which  they  builded  not,  Deut.  6.  10.  and 
in  these  among  the  rest.  And  here  we  find  Israel 
rolling  in  blood  and  treasure.  (1.)  In  the  blood  of 
their  enemies;  they  smote  all  the  souls,  v.  11. 
neither  left  they  any  to  breathe,  v.  14.  that  there 
might  be  none  to  infect  them  with  the  abominations 
of  Canaan,  and  none  to  disturb  them  in  the  possess¬ 
ion  of  it.  The  children  were  cut  off,  lest  they 
should  afterward  lay  claim  to  any  part  of  this  land 
in  the  right  of  their  parents.  (2.)  In  the  wealth 
of  their  enemies:  the  spoil,  and  the  cattle,  they  took 
for  a  prey  to  themselves,  v.  14.  As  they  were  en¬ 
riched  with  the  spoil  of  their  oppressors  when  they 
came  out  of  Egypt,  wherewith  to  defray  the 
charges  of  their  apprenticeship  in  the  wilderness; 
so  they  were  now  enriched  with  the  spoil  of  their 
enemies,  for  a  stock  wherewith  to  set  up  in  the  land 
of  Canaan.  Thus  is  the  wealth  of  the  sinner  laid 
up  for  the  just. 

15.  As  the  Lord  commanded  Moses  nis 
servant,  so  did  Moses  command  Joshua, 


61 


JOSHUA,  XL 


and  so  did  Joshua ;  he  left  nothing  undone 
of  all  that  the  Lord  commanded  Moses. 
16.  So  Joshua  took  all  that  land,  the  hills, 
and  all  the  south  country,  and  all  the  land 
of  Goshen,  and  the  valley,  and  the  plain, 
and  the  mountain  of  Israel,  and  the  valley 
of  the  same;  17.  Even  from  the  mount 
Halak,  that  goeth  up  to  Seir,  unto  Baal- 
gad,  in  the  valley  of  Lebanon,  unto  mount 
Hermon :  and  all  their  kings  he  took,  and 
smote  them,  and  slew  them.  1 8.  Joshua 
made  war  a  long  time  with  all  those  kings. 
19.  There  was  not  a  city  that  made  peace 
with  the  children  of  Israel,  save  the  Hivites/ 
the  inhabitants  of  Gibeon:  all  other  they 
took  in  battle.  20.  For  it  was  of  the  Lord 
to  harden  their  hearts,  that  they  should 
come  against  Israel  in  battle,  that  he 
might  destroy  them  utterly,  and  that  they 
might  have  no  favour,  but  that  he  might 
destroy  them,  as  the  Lord  commanded 
Moses.  21.  And  at  that  time  came  Josh¬ 
ua,  and  cut  off  the  Anakims  from  the 
mountains,  from  Hebron,  from  Debir,  from 
Anab,  and  from  all  the  mountains  of  Judah, 
and  from  all  the  mountains  of  Israel :  Josh¬ 
ua  destroyed  them  utterly  with  their  cities. 
22.  There  was  none  of  the  Anakims  left 
in  the  land  of  the  children  of  Israel :  only 
in  Gaza,  in  Gath,  and  in  Ashdod,  there  re- 
Fiained.  23.  So  Joshua  took  the  whole 
land,  according  to  all  that  the  Lord  said 
unto  Moses ;  and  Joshua  gave  it  for  an  in¬ 
heritance  unto  Israel,  according  to  their  di¬ 
visions  by  their  tribes.  And  the  land  rest¬ 
ed  from  war. 

We  have  here  the  conclusion  of  this  whole  mat¬ 
ter. 

I.  A  short  account  is  here  given  of  what  was  done 
in  four  things, 

1.  The  obstinacy  of  the  Canaanites  in  their  oppo- 
s'tion  to  the  Israelites.  It  was  strange,  that  though 
it  appeared  so  manifestly  that  God  fought  for  Israel, 
and  in  every  engagement  the  Canaanites  had  the 
worst  of  it,  yet  they  stood  it  out  to  the  last;  not  one 
city  made  peace  with  Israel,  but  the  Gibeonites 
only,  who  understood  the  things  that  belonged 
to  their  peace  better  than  their  neighbours,  z>. 
19.  It  is  intimated  that  other  cities  might  have 
made  as  good  terms  for  themselves,  without  rag¬ 
ged  clothes  and  clouted  shoes,  if  they  would 
have  humbled  themselves,  but  they  never  so  much 
as  desired  conditions  of  peace.  We  are  told  whence 
this  unaccountable  infatuation  came,  It  was  of  the 
Lord  to  harden  their  hearts ,  v.  20.  As  Pharaoh’s 
heart  was  hardened  by  his  own  pride  and  wilfulness 
first,  and  afterward  by  the  righteous  judgment  of 
God,  to  his  destruction,  so  were  the  hearts  of  these 
Canaanites.  To  punish  them  for  all  their  other 
follies,  God  left  them  to  this,  to  make  those  their 
enemies,  whom  they  might  have  made  their  friends. 
This  was  it  that  ruined  them,  they  came  against 
Israel  in  battle ,  and  gave  the  first  blow,  and  there- 
f  re  might  have  no  favour  showed  them.  Those 
kn  o\y  not  what  they  do,  who  give  the  provocation  to 
di.  inc  'justice,  or  the  authorised  instruments  of  it.  j 


Are  we  stronger  than  God?  Observe  here,  that 
hardness  of  heart  is  the  ruin  of  sinners.  Those 
that  are  stupid  and  secure,  and  heedless  of  divine 
warnings,  are  already  marked  for  destruction. 
What  hope  is  there  "of  those  concerning  whom 
God  has  said,  Go,  male  their  hearts  fat? 

2.  The  constancy  of  the  Israelites  in  prosecuting 
this  war,  v.  18.  Joshua  made  war  a  long  time; 
some  reckon  it  five  years,  others  seven,  that  were 
spent  in  subduing  this  land.  So  long  God  would 
train  up  Israel  to  war,  and  give  them  repeated  in¬ 
stances  of  his  power  and  goodness  in  e\  ery  new  vic¬ 
tory  that  he  gave  them. 

3.  The  conquest  of  the  Anakims  at  last,  v.  21, 
22.  Either  this  was  done,  as  they  met  with  them 
where  they  were  dispersed,  as  seme  think,  or  ra¬ 
ther,  it  should  seem  the  Anakims  were  retired  to 
their  fastnesses,  and  so  were  hunted  out,  and  cut  off 
at  last,  after  all  the  rest  < f  their  enemies.  The 
mountains  of  Judah  and  Israel  were  the  habitations 
of  those  mountains  of  men;  but  neither  their  height, 
nor  the  strength  of  their  caves,  nor  the  difficulty  of 
the  passes  to  them,  could  secure,  no,  not  these 
mighty  men  from  the  sword  of  Joshua.  The  cutting 
off  of  the  sons  of  Anak  is  particularly  mentioned, 
because  these  had  been  such  a  terror  to  the  spies 
forty  years  before,  and  their  bulk  and  strength  had 
been  thought  an  insuperable  difficulty  in  the  way  of 
the  reducing  of  Canaan,  Numb.  13.  28,  33.  Even 
that  opposition  which  seemed  invincible,  was  got 
over.  Never  let  the  sons  of  Anak  be  a  terror  to  the 
Israel  of  God,  for  even  their  day  will  come,  to  fall. 
Giants  are  dwarfs  to  Omnipotence;  yet  this  strug¬ 
gle  with  the  Anakims  was  reser  ed  for  the  latter 
end  of  the  war,  when  the  Israelites  were  become 
more  expert  in  the  arts  of  war,  and  had  had  more  ex¬ 
perience  of  the  power  and  goodness  of  God.  Note, 
God  sometimes  reserves  the  sharpest  trials  of  his 
people  by  affliction  and  temptation  for  the  latter  end 
of  their  days.  Therefore  let  not  him  that  girds  on 
the  harness,  boast  as  he  that  puts  it  off.  Death, 
that  tremendous  son  of  Anak,  is  the  last  enemy 
that  is  to  be  encountered,  but  it  is  to  be  destroyed, 
1  Cor.  15.  26.  Thanks  be  to  God,  who  will  give 
us  the  victory. 

4.  The  end  and  issue  of  this  long  war.  The  Ca¬ 
naanites  were  rooted  out,  (not  perfectly,  as  we  shall 
find  after  in  the  book  of  Judges,)  but  in  a  good  mea¬ 
sure;  they  were  not  able  to  make  any  head,  either, 
(1.)  So  as  to  keep  the  Israelites  out  of  possess¬ 
ion  of  the  land,  Joshua  took  all  that  land,  v.  16,  17. 
And  we  may  suppose  the  people  dispersed  them¬ 
selves  and  their  families  into  the  countries  they  had 
conquered,  at  least  those  that  lay  nearest  to  the 
head-quarters  at  Gilgal,  until  an  orderly  distribu¬ 
tion  should  be  made  by  lot,  that  every  man  might 
know  his  own.  Or,  (2.)  So  as  to  keep  them  in  ac¬ 
tion,  or  give  them  any  molestation,  v.  23,  The 
land  rested  from  war.  It  ended  not  in  a  peace  with 
the  Canaanites,  (that  was  forbidden,)  but  in  peace 
from  them.  There  is  a  rest,  a  rest  from  war,  re¬ 
maining  for  the  people  of  God,  into  which  they 
shall  enter,  when  their  warfare  is  accomplished. 

II.  That  which  was  now  done,  is  here  compared 
with  that  which  had  been  said  to  Moses.  God’s 
word  and  his  works,  if  viewed  and  considered  to¬ 
gether,  will  mutually  illustrate  each  other.  It  is 
here  observed  in  the  close, 

1.  That  all  the  precepts  God  had  given  to  Mo¬ 
ses  relating  to  the  conquest  of  Canaan,  were  obeyed 
on  the  people’s  part,  at  least,  while  Joshua  lived. 
See  how  solemnly  this  is  remarked,  v.  15,  As  the 
Lord  commanded  Moses  his  servant,  by  whose 
hand  the  law  was  given,  so  did  Moses  command 
Joshua,  for  Moses  was  faithful,  as  a  lawgiver,  to 
him  that  appointed  him,  he  did  his  part,  and  then 
he  died;  but  were  the  commands  of  Moses  observ- 


62 


JOSHUA,  XII 


ed  when  he  was  In  his  grave?  Yes,  they  were,  so 
did  Joshua,  who  was,  in  his  place,  as  faithful,  as 
Moses  in  his.  He  left  nothing  undone  (Heb.  he 
removed  nothing  J  of  all  that  the  Lord  commanded 
Moses.  They  that  leave  their  duty  undone,  do 
what  they  can  to  remove  or  make  void  the  com¬ 
mand  of  God,  by  which  they  are  obliged  to  it;  but 
Joshua,  by  performing  the  precept,  confirmed  it,  as 
the  expression  is,  Deut.  27.  26.  Joshua  was  him¬ 
self  a  great  commander,  and  yet  nothing  was  more 
h's  praise  than  his  obedience.  They  that  rule  others 
at  their  will,  must  themselves  be  ruled  by  the  di¬ 
vine  will,  then  their  power  is  indeed  their  honour, 
and  not  otherwise.  The  pious  obedience  for  which 
Joshua  is  here  commended,  respects  especially  the 
command  to  destroy  the  Canaanites,  and  to  break 
down  their  altars,  and  burn  their  images,  Deut.  7. 
2..  5.  Exod.  23.  24. — 34.  13.  Joshua,  in  his  zeal 
for  the  Lord  of  hosts,  spared  neither  the  idols 
nor  the  idolaters.  Saul’s  disobedience,  or  ra¬ 
ther  his  partial  obedience,  to  the  command  of 
God,  for  the  utter  destruction  of  the  Amalekites, 
cost  him  his  kingdom.  It  should  seem,  Joshua  him¬ 
self  gives  this  account  of  his  most  careful  and  punc¬ 
tual  observance  of  his  orders  in  the  execution  of 
his  commission,  that  in  all  respects  he  had  done  as 
Moses  commanded  him;  and  then  it  intimates  that 
he  had  more  pleasure  and  satisfaction  in  reflecting 
upon  h:s  obedience  to  the  commands  of  Gcd  in  all 
this  war,  and  valued  himself  more  upon  that,  than 
upon  all  the  gains  and  triumphs  with  which  he  was 
enriched  and  advanced. 

2.  That  all  the  promises  God  had  given  to  Mo¬ 
ses,  relating  to  this  conquest,  were  accomplished  on 
his  part,  v.  23.  Joshua  took  the  whole  land,  con¬ 
quered  it,  and  took  possession  of  it,  according  to  all 
that  the  Lord  said  unto  Moses.  God  had  promised 
to  drive  out  the  nations  before  them,  Exod.  33.  2. 
— 34.  11.  and  to  bring  them  down,  Deut.  9.  3.  And 
now  it  was  done.  There  failed  not  one  word  of  the 
promise.  Our  successes  and  enjoyments  arc  then 
doubly  sweet  and  comfortable  to  us,  when  we  see 
them  flowing  to  us  from  the  promise;  this  is  accor¬ 
ding  to  what  the  Lord  said:  as  our  obedience  is 
then  acceptable  to  God,  when  it  has  an  eye  to  the 
precept.  And  if  we  make  conscience  of  our  duty, 
we  need  not  question  the  performance  of  the  pro¬ 
mise. 

CHAP.  XII. 

This  chapter  is  a  summary  of  Israel’s  conquests,  I.  Their 
conquests  under  Moses,  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  (for 
we  now  suppose  ourselves  in  Canaan,)  eastward,  which 
we  had  the  history  of,  Numb.  21.  24,  &c.  And  here  the 
abridgment  of  that  history,  v.  1  . .  6.  II.  Their  con¬ 
quests  under  Joshua,  on  this  side  Jordan,  westward.  1. 
The  country  they  reduced,  v.  7,  8.  2.  The  kings  they 

subdued,  thirty-one  in  all,  v.  9  . .  24.  And  this  comes  in 
here,  not  only  as  a  conclusion  of  the  history  of  the  wars 
of  Canaan,  (that  we  might  at  one  view  see  what  they 
had  got)  but  as  a  preface  to  the  history  of  the  dividing  of 
Canaan,  that  all  that  might  be  put  together,  which  thev 
were  now  to  make  a  distribution  of. 

l.’^UTOW  these  are  the  kings  of  the  land, 
In  which  the  children  of  Israel  smote, 
and  possessed  their  land  on  the  other  side 
Jordan,  toward  the  rising  of  the  son;  from 
the  river  Arnon  unto  mount  Hermon,  and 
all  the  plain  on  the  east :  2.  Sihon  king 

of  the  Amorites,  who  dwelt  in  Heshbon, 
and  ruled  from  Aroer,  which  is  upon  the 
bank  of  the  river  Arnon,  and  from  the  mid¬ 
dle  of  the  river,  and  from  half  Gilead,  unto 
the  river  Jabbok,  which  is  the  border  of  the 


children  of  Ammon ;  3.  And  from  the 

plain  to  the  sea  of  Chinneroth  on  the  east, 
and  unto  the  sea  of  the  plain,  even  the  salt 
!  sea  on  the  east,  the  way  to  Beth-jeshimoth ; 
and  from  the  south,  under  Ashdoth-pisgah: 
4.  And  the  coast  of  Og  king  of  Bashan, 
which  was  of  the  remnant  of  the  giants,  that 
dwelt  at  Ashtaroth  and  at  Edrei,  5.  And 
reigned  in  mount  Hermon,  and  in  Salcah, 
and  in  all  Bashan,  unto  the  border  of  the 
Geshurites,  and  the  Maachathites,  and  half 
Gilead,  the  border  of  Sihon  king  of  Hesh¬ 
bon.  6.  Them  did  Moses  the  servant  of 
the  Lord  and  the  children  of  Israel  smite : 
and  Moses  the  servant  of  the  Lord  gave  it 
for  a  possession  unto  the  Reubenites,  and 
Gadites,  and  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh. 

Joshua,  or  whoever  else  is  the  historian,  before 
he  comes  to  sum  up  the  new  conquests  Israel  had 
made,  in  these  verses  recites  their  fo:  mer  conquests 
in  Moses’s  time,  under  whom  they  became  masters 
of  the  great  and  potent  kingdoms  of  Sihon  and  Og. 
Note,  Fresh  mercies  must  not  drown  the  remem¬ 
brance  of  former  mercies,  nor  must  the  glory  cf  the 
present  instruments  of  good  to  the  church,  be  suf¬ 
fered  to  eclipse  and  diminish  the  justrhonour  of 
those  who  have  gone  before  them,  and  who  were 
the  blessings  and  ornaments  of  their  day.  Joshua’s 
services  and  achievements  are  confessedly  great,  but 
let  not  those  under  Moses  be  overlooked  and  for¬ 
gotten,  since  God  was  the  same  who  wrought  both, 
and  both  put  together,  proclaim  him  the  alpha  and 
omega  of  Israel’s  great  salvation.  Here  is, 

1.  A  description  of  this  conquered  country,  the 
measure  and  bounds  of  it  in  general,  v.  1,  From 
the  river  Arnon  in  the  south,  to  mount  Hermon  in 
the  north.  In  particular,  here  is  a  description  of 
the  kingdom  cf  Sihon,  v.  2,  3.  and  that  of  Og,  v. 
4,  5.  Moses  had  described  this  country  very  par¬ 
ticularly,  Deut.  2.  36. — 3.  4,  fee.  and  this  descrip¬ 
tion  here  agrees  with  his.  King  Og  is  said  to  dwell 
at  Ashtaroth  and  Edrei,  v.  4.  probably,  because 
they  were  both  his  royal  cities,  he  had  palaces  in 
both,  and  resided  sometimes  in  one,  and  sometimes 
in  the  other;  one  perhaps  was  his  summer-seat, 
and  the  other  his  winter-seat;  but  Israel  took  both 
from  him,  and  made  one  grave  to  serve  him,  that 
could  not  be  content  with  one  palace. 

2.  The  distribution  of  this  country;  Moses  as¬ 
signed  it  to  the  two  tribes  and  a  half,  at  their  re¬ 
quest,  and  divided  it  among  them,  v.  6.  of  which 
we  have  the  story  at  large,  Numb.  32.  The  divi¬ 
ding  of  it  when  it  was  conquered  by  Moses,  is  here 
mentioned  as  an  example  to  Joshua,  what  he  must 
do  now  that  he  had  conquered  the  country  on  this 
side  Jordan.  Moses,  in  his  time,  gave  to  one  part 
of  Israel  a  very  rich  and  fruitful  country,  but  it  was 
on  the  outside  of  Jordan;  Joshua  gave  to  all  Israel 
the  holy  land,  the  mountain  of  God’s  sanctuary, 
within  Jordan:  so  the  law  conferred  upon  some  few 
of  God’s  spiritual  Israel,  external  temporal  bless¬ 
ings,  w’hich  were  earnests  of  good  things  to 
come;  but  our  Lord  Jesus,  the  true  Joshua,  has 
provided  for  all  the  children  of  promise  spiritual 
blessings,  the  privileges  of  the  sanctuary,  and  the 
heavenly  Canaan.  The  triumphs  and  grants  of  the 
Law  were  glorious,  but  those  of  the  Gospel  far  ex¬ 
ceed  in  glory. 

7.  And  these  are  the  kings  of  the  coun¬ 
try  which  Joshua  and  the  children  of  Israe’ 


63 


JOSHUA,  XIII. 


^mote  on  this  side  Jordan  on  the  west,  from 
Haul-gad  in  the  valley  of  Lebanon  even 
unto  the  mount  Halak,  that  goeth  up  to 
Seif;  which  Joshua  gave  unto  the  tribes  of 
Israel  for  a  possession,  according  to  tlieir 
divisions:  8.  In  the  mountains,  and  in  the 
valleys,  and  in  the  plains,  and  in  the  springs, 
and  in  the  wilderness,  and  in  the  south 
country ;  the  Hittites,  the  Amorites,  and  the 
Oanaanites,  the  Perizzites,  the  Hivites,  and 
the  Jebusites :  9.  The  king  of  Jericho, 

one;  the  king  of  Ai,  which  is  beside  Beth¬ 
el,  one;  10.  The  king  of  Jerusalem,  one; 
the  king  of  Hebron,  one  ;  11.  The  king  of 

Jarmuth,  one ;  the  king  of  Lachish,  one  ; 
12.  The  king  of  Eglon,  one;  the  king  of 
Gezer,  one  ;  1 3.  The  king  of  Debir,  one ; 

the  king  of  Geder,  one ;  1 4.  The  king  of 

Hormah, one;  the  king  of  Arad,  one;  15. 
The  king  of  Libnah,  one  ;  the  king  of  Adul- 
lam,  one;-  16.  The  king  of  Makkedah, 
one;  the  king  of  Beth-el,  one;  17.  The 
king  of  Tappuah,  one  ;  the  king  of  He- 
pher,  one;  18.  The  king  of  Aphek,  one; 
the  king  of  Lasharon,  one;  19.  The  king 
of  Madon,  one  ;  the  king  of  Hazor,  one ; 
20.  The  king  of  Shimron-meron,  one ;  the 
king  of  Achshaph,  one;  21.  The  king  of 
Taanach,  one  ;  the  king  of  Megiddo,  one; 
22.  The  king  of  Kedesh,  one ;  the  king  of 
Jokneam  of  Carmel,  one ;  23.  The  king 

of  Dor  in  the  coast  of  Dor,  one  ;  the  king 
of  the  nations  of  Gilgal,  one ;  24.  The  king 
of  Tirzah,  one:  All  the  kings  thirty  and  one. 

We  have  here  a  breviate  of  Joshua’s  conquests. 

I.  The  limits  of  the  country  he  conquered;  it  lay 
between  Jordan  on  the  east,  and  the  Mediterranean 
sea  on  the  west,  and  extended  from  Baal-gad  near 
Lebanon  in  the  north,  to  Halak,  which  lay  upon 
the  country  of  Edom  in  the  south,  v.  7.  The 
boundaries  are  more  largely  described,  Numb.  34.  ! 
2,  8cc.  this  only  is  enough  to  show  that  God  had 
been  as  good  as  his  word,  and  had  given  them  pos¬ 
session  of  all  he  had  promised  them  by  Moses,  if 
they  would  but  have  kept  it. 

II.  The  various  kinds  of  land  that  were  found  in 
this  country,  which  contributed  both  to  its  pleasant¬ 
ness  and  to  its  fruitfulness,  v.  8.  There  were 
mountains,  not  craggy  and  rocky  and  barren,  which 
are  frightful  to  the  traveller,  and  useless  to  the  in¬ 
habitants,  but  fruitful  hills,  such  as  put  forth  pre¬ 
cious  things,  Deut.  33.  15.  which  charmed  the 
spectator’s  eye,  and  filled  the  owner’s  hand.  And 
valleys,  not  mossy  and  boggy,  but  covered  with  corn, 
Ps.  65.  13.  There  were  plains,  and  springs  to  wa¬ 
ter  them;  and  even  in  that  rich  land  there  were 
wildernesses  too,  or  forests,  which  were  not  so 
thickly  inhabited  as  other  parts,  yet  had  towns  and 
houses  in  them,  but  served  as  foils  to  set  off  the 
more  pleasant  and  fruitful  countries. 

III.  The  several  nations  that  had  been  in  posses¬ 
sion  of  this  country,  Hittites,  Amorites,  Canaanites, 
&c.  all  of  them  descended  from  Canaan  the  accurs¬ 
ed  son  of  Ham,  Gen.  10.  15- -18.  Seven  nations 
they  are  called,  Deut.  7.  1.  and  so  many  are  there 
reckoned  up,  but  here  six  only  are  mentioned,  the 


Girgashites  being  here  either  lost  or  left  out,  though 
we  find  them,  Gen.  10.  16.  and  15.  21.  Eithei 
they  were  incorporated  with  some  other  of  these 
nations,  or,  as  the  tradition  of  the  Jews  is,  upon  the 
approach  of  Israel  under  Joshua,  they  all  withdrew 
and  went  into  Africa,  leaving  their  country  to  be 
possessed  by  Israel,  with  whom  they  saw  it  was  to 
no  purpose  to  contend,  and  therefore  they  are  not 
named  among  the  nations  that  Joshua  subdued. 

IV.  A  list  of  the  kings  that  were  conquered  and 
subdued  by  the  sword  of  Israel,  some  in  the  field, 
others  in  their  own  cities.  Thirty  one  in  all,  and 
very  particularly  named  and  counted,  it  should 
seem,  in  the  order  in  which  they  .were  conquered; 
for  the  catalogue  begins  with  the  kings  of  Jericho 
and  Ai,  then  takes  in  the  king  of  Jerusalem,  and  the 
princes  of  the  south  that  were  in  confederacy  with 
him,  and  then  proceeds  to  those  of  the  northern  as¬ 
sociation.  Now, 

1.  This  shows  what  a  very  fmitful  country 
Canaan  then  was,  which  could  support  so  many 
kingdoms,  and  in  which  so  many  kings  chose  to 
throng  together,  rather  than  disperse  themselves 
into  other  countries,  which  we  may  suppose  not  yet 
inhabited,  but  where,  though  they  might  find  more 
room,  they  could  not  expect  such  plenty  and  plea¬ 
sure:  this  was  the  land  God  spied  out  for  Israel ;  and 
yet  at  this  day  it  is  one  of  the  most  barren,  despica¬ 
ble,  and  unprofitable,  countries  in  the  world;  such 
is  the  effect  of  the  curse  it  lies  under,  since  its  pos¬ 
sessors  rejected  Christ  and  his  Gospel,  as  was  fore¬ 
told  by  Moses,  Deut.  29.  23. 

2.  It  shows  what  narrow  limits  men’s  ambition 
was  then  confined  to.  These  kings  contented  them¬ 
selves  with  the  government,  each  of  them,  of  one 
city,  and  the  towns  and  villages  that  pertained  to 
it;  and  no  one  of  them,  for  aught  that  appears, 
aimed  to  make  himself  master  of  the  rest,  but, 
when  there  was  occasion,  united  for  the  common 
safety.  Yet  it  should  seem  that  what  was  wanting 
in  the  extent  of  their  territories,  was  made  up  in 
the  absoluteness  of  their  power,  their  subjects  being 
all  their  tenants  and  vassals,  and  entirely  at  their 
command. 

3.  It  shows  how  good  God  was  to  Israel,  in  giving 
them  victory  over  all  these  kings,  and  possession  of 
all  these  kingdoms,  and  what  obligations  he  hereby 
laid  upon  them  to  observe  his  statutes,  and  to  Peep 
his  lavjs,  Ps.  105.  44,  45.  Here  were  thirty-one 
kingdoms,  or  signiories,  to  be  divided  among  nine 
tribes  and  a  half  of  Israel.  Of  these  there  fell 
to  the  lot  of  Judah,  the  kingdoms  of  Hebron,  Jar¬ 
muth,  Lachish,  Eglon,  Debir,  Arad,  Libnath,  and 
Adullam,  eight  in  all,  beside  part  of  the  k  ngdom 
of  Jerusalem,  and  part  of  Geder.  Benjamin  had 
the  kingdoms  of  Jericho,  Ai,  Jerusalem,  Makke 
dah,  Beth-el,  and  the  nations  of  Gilgal,  sx  in  all 
Simeon  had  the  kingdom  of  Hormah,  and  part  of 
Geder.  Ephraim  had  the  kingdoms  of  Gezer  and 
Tirzah.  Manasseh  (that  half-tribe)  had  the  king¬ 
doms  of  Tappuah  and  Hepher,  Taanach  and  Me¬ 
giddo.  Asher  had  the  kingdoms  of  Aphek  and 
Achshaph.  Zebulon  had  the  kingdoms  of  L  isha- 
ron,  Shimron-meron  and  Jokneam.  Naphtali  had 
the  kingdoms  of  Madon,  Hazor,  and  Kedesh.  And 
Issachar  had  that  of  Dor.  These  were  some  of  the 
great  and  famous  kings  that  God  smote,  for  his 
mercy  endureth  for  ever;  and  gave  their  land  for 
a  heritage,  even  a  heritage  unto  Israel  his  servant, 
for  his  mercy  endureth  for  ever,  Ps.  136.  17,  &c. 

CHAP.  XIII. 

At  this  chapter  begins  the  account  of  the  dividing  of  the 

land  of  Canaan  among  the  tribes  of  Israel  by  lot;  a  nar¬ 
rative  not  so  entertaining  and  instructive  as  that  of  the 

conquest  of  it,  and  yet  if  is  thought  fit  to  be  inserted  in 

the  sacred  history,  to  illustrate  the  performance  of  ti  e 


64 


JOSHUA,  XIII. 


promise  made  to  the  Fathers,  that  this  land  should  be 
given  to  the  seed  of  Jacob,  to  them,  and  not  to  any 
other.  The  preserving  of  this  distribution  would  be  of 
great  use  to  the  Jewish  nation,  who  were  obliged  by  the 
law  to  keep  up  this  first  distribution,  and  not  to  transfer 
inheritances  from  tribe  to  tribe,  Numb.  36.  9.  It  is  like¬ 
wise  of  use  to  us  for  the  exp'aining  of  other  scriptures: 
the  learned  know  how  much  light  the  geographical  de¬ 
scription  of  a  country  gives  to  the  history  of  it.  And 
therefore  we  are  not  to  skip  over  these  chapters  of  hard 
names,  as  useless  and  not  to  be  regarded;  where  God 
has  a  mouth  to  speak,  and  a  hand  to  write,  we  should 
find  an  ear  to  hear,  and  an  eye  to  read;  and  God  give  us 
a  heart  to  profit !  In  this  chapter,  I.  God  informs  Joshua 
what  parts  of  the  country  that  were  intended  in  the  grant 
to  Israel,  yet  remained  unconquered,  and  not  got  in  pos¬ 
session,  v.  1 . .  6.  II.  He  appoints  him,  notwithstand¬ 
ing,  to  make  a  distribution  of  what  was  conquered,  v.  7. 
III.  To  complete  this  account,  here  is  a  repetition  of  the 
distribution  Moses  had  made  of  the  land  on  the  other 
side  Jordan;  in  general,  v.  8  .  .  14.  In  particular,  the  lot 
of  Reuben,  v.  15 . .  23.  Of  Gad,  v.  24  . .  28.  Of  the  half¬ 
tribe  of  Manasseh,  v.  29  . .  33. 

1.  lyrOW  Joshua  was  old  and  stricken  in 
J3I  years ;  and  the  Lord  said  unto  him, 
Thou  art  old  and  stricken  in  years,  and  there 
remaineth  yet  very  much  land  to  be  pos¬ 
sessed.  2.  This  is  the  land  that  yet  remain¬ 
eth  :  all  the  borders  of  the  Philistines,  and 
all  Geshuri,  3.  From  Sihor,  which  is  be¬ 
fore  Egypt,  even  unto  the  borders  of  Ekron 
northward,  which  is  counted  to  the  Canaan- 
ite  :  five  lords  of  the  Philistines ;  the  Gazath- 
ites,  and  the  Ashdothites,  the  Eshkalonites, 
the  Gittites,  and  the  Ekronites ;  also  the 
Avites :  4.  From  the  south,  all  the  land  of 

the  Canaanites,  and  Mearah  that  is  beside 
the  Sidonians,  unto  Aphek,  to  the  borders 
of  the  Amorites :  5.  And  the  land  of  the 

Giblites,  and  all  Lebanon,  toward  the  sun¬ 
rising,  from  Baal-gad  under  mount  Hermon 
unto  the  entering  into  Hamath :  6.  All  the 
inhabitants  of  the  hill  country,  from  Leba¬ 
non  unto  Misrephoth-maim,  and  all  the  Si¬ 
donians,  them  will  I  drive  out  from  before 
the  children  of  Israel :  only  divide  thou  it  by 
lot  unto  the  Israelites  for  an  inheritance  as 
I  have  commanded  thee. 

Here, 

I.  God  puts  Joshua  in  mind  of  his  old  age,  v.  1. 
1.  It  is  said  that  Joshua  was  old  and  stricken  in 
years,  and  he  and  Caleb  were  at  this  time  the  only 
old  men  among  the  thousands  of  Israel;  none  (ex¬ 
cept  them)  or  ail  those  who  were  numbered  at 
mount  Sinai  being  now  alive.  He  had  been  a  man 
of  war  from  his  youth,  Exod.  17.  10.  but  now  he 
yielded  to  the  infirmities  of  age,  with  which  it  is  in 
vain  for  the  stoutest  man  to  think  of  contesting.  It 
should  seem  Joshua  had  not  the  same  strength  and 
vigour  in  his  old  age,  that  Moses  had;  all  that  come 
to  old  age,  do  not  find  it  alike  good;  generally,  the 
days  of  old  age  are  evil  days,  and  such  as  there  is 
no  pleasure  in  them,  nor  expectation  of  service  from 
them.  2.  God  takes  notice  of  it  to  him,  God  said 
unto  him,  Thou  art  old.  Note,  It  is  good  for  those 
who  are  old  and  stricken  in  years,  to  be  put  in  re¬ 
membrance  of  their  being  so.  Some  have  gray 
hairs  here  and  there  upon  them,  and  perceive  it  not, 
Hos.  7.  9.  they  do  not  care  to  think  of  it,  and  there¬ 
fore  need  to  be  told  of  it,  that  they  may  be  quick¬ 
ened  to  do  the  work  of  life,  and  make  preparation 
tor  death  which  is  coming  toward  them  apace. 


But  God  mentions  Joshua’s  age  and  growing  infir 
mities,  (1.)  Asa  reason  why  he  should  now  lay  by 
the  thoughts  of  pursuing  the  war;  he  cannot  expect 
to  see  an  end  of  it  quickly,  for  there  remained 
much  land,  more  perhaps  than  he  thought,  to  be 
possessed,  in  several  parts  remote  from  each  other: 
and  it  was  not  fit  that  at  this  age  he  should  be  put 
upon  the  fatigue  of  renewing  the  war,  and  carrying 
it  to  such  distant  places;  no,  it  was  enough  for  him 
that  he  had  reduced  the  body  of  the  country,  let 
him  be  gathered  to  rest,  with  honour  and  the  thanks 
of  his  people,  for  the  good  services  he  had  done 
them,  and  let  the  conquering  of  the  skirts  of  the 
country  be  left  for  those  that  shall  come  after.  As 
he  had  entered  into  the  labours  of  Moses,  so  let 
others  enter  into  his,  and  bring  forth  the  top-stone; 
the  doing  of  which  was  reserved  for  David  long 
after.  Observe,  God  considers  the  frame  of  his 
people,  and  would  not  have  them  burthened  with 
work  above  their  strength.  It  cannot  be  expected 
that  old  peopld  should  do  as  they  have  done  for  God 
and  their  country.  (2.)  As  a  reason  why  he  shou'd 
speedily  apply  himself  to  the  dividing  of  that  which 
he  had  conquered.  That  work  must  be  done,  and 
done  quickly;  it  was  necessary  that  he  should  pre¬ 
side  in  the  doing  of  it,  and  therefore,  he  being  old 
and  stricken  in  years,  and  not  likely  to  continue 
long,  let  him  make  that  his  concluding  piece  of  ser¬ 
vice  to  God  and  Israel.  All  people,  but  especially 
old  people,  should  set  themselves  to  do  that  quickly 
which  must  be  done  before  they  die,  lest  death  pre¬ 
vent  them,  Eccl.  9.  10. 

II.  He  gives  him  a  particular  account  of  the  land 

that  yet  remained  unconquered,  which  was  intend¬ 
ed  for  Israel,  and  which,  in  due  time,  they  should 
be  masters  of,  if  they  did  not  put  a  bar  in  their  own 
door.  Divers  places  are  here  mentioned,  some  in 
the  south,  as  the  country  of  the  Philistines,  govern¬ 
ed  by  five  lords,  and  the  land  that  lay  toward 
Egypt,  v.  2,  3.  Some  westward,  as  that  which  lay 
toward  the  Sidonians,  v.  4.  Some  eastward,  as  all 
Lebanon,  v.  5.  Joshua  is  told  this,  and  he  made 
the  people  acquainted  with  it,  1.  That  they  might 
be  the  more  affected  with  God’s  goodness  to  them 
in  giving  to  them  this  good  land,  and  might  thereby 
be  engaged  to  love  and  serve  him;  for  if  this  which 
they  had  was  too  little,  God  would  moreover  erne 
them  such  and  such  things,  2  Sam.  12.  8.  2.  That 

they  might  not  be  tempted  to  make  any  league,  or 
contract  any  dangerous  familiarity  with  these  their 
neighbours,  so  as  to  learn  their  way,  but  might  ra¬ 
ther  be  jealous  of  them,  as  people  that  kept  them 
from  their  right,  and  that  they  had  just  cause  of 
quarrel  with.  3.  That  they  might  keep  them¬ 
selves  in  a  posture  for  war,  and  not  think  of  putting 
off  the  harness,  as  long  as  there  remained  any  land 
to  be  possessed.  Nor  must  we  lay  aside  our  spirit¬ 
ual  armour,  or  be  off  our  watch,  till  our  victory  be 
complete  in  the  kingdom  of  glory. 

III.  He  promises  that  he  would  make  the  Israel¬ 
ites  masters  of  all  those  countries  that  were  yet 
unsubdued,  though  Joshua  was  old,  and  not  able  to 
do  it,  old  and  not  likely  to  live  to  see  it  done. 
Whatever  becomes  of  us,  and  however  we  may  be 
laid  aside  as  dtspised  broken  vessels,  God  will  do 
his  own  work  in  his  own  time,  v.  6,  I  will  drive 
them  out.  The  original  is  emphatical,  “  It  is  /that 
will  do  it,  I  that  can  do  it,  when  thou  art  dead  and 
gone,  and  will  do  it,  if  Israel  be  not  wanting  to 
themselves.”  “I  will  do  it  by  my  Word,”  so  the 
Chaldee  here,  as  in  many  other  "places,  “by  the 
eternal  Word,  the  Captain  of  the  hosts  cf  the 
Lord.”  This  promise  that  he  would  drive  them  out 
from  before  the  children  of  Israel,  plainly  supposes 
it  as  the  condition  of  the  promise,  that  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  must  themselves  attempt  and  endea 
vour  their  extirpation,  must  go  up  against  them, 


65 


JOSHU 

rise  they  could  not  be  said  to  be  driven  out  before 
them;  if  afterwards,  Israel,  through  sloth,  or  cow¬ 
ardice,  or  affection  to  these  idolaters,  sit  still  and 
let  them  alone,  they  must  blame  themselves,  and 
not  God,  if  they  be  not  driven  out.  We  must  work 
out  our  salvation,  and  then  God  will  work  in  us,  and 
work  with  us;  we  must  resist  our  spiritual  enemies, 
and  then  God  will  tread  them  under  our  feet;  we 
must  go  forth  to  our  Christian  work  and  warfare, 
and  then  God  will  go  forth  before  us. 

7.  Now  therefore  divide  this  land  for  an 
inheritance  unto  the  nine  tribes  and  the  half 
tribe  of  Manasseh,  8.  With  whom  the 
Reubenites  and  the  Gadites  have  received 
their  inheritance,  which  Moses  gave  them, 
beyond  Jordan  eastward,  even  as  Moses  the 
servant  of  the  Lord  gave  them ;  9.  From 

Aroer,  that  is  upon  the  bank  of  the  river 
Arnon,  and  the  city  that  is  in  the  midst  of 
the  river,  and  all  the  plain  of  Medeba  unto 
Dibon;  10.  And  all  the  cities  of  Sihon 
king  of  the  Amorites,  which  reigned  in 
Heshbon,  unto  the  border  of  the  children  of 
Ammon  ;  11.  And  Gilead,  and  the  border 

of  the  Geshurites  and  Maachathites,  and  all 
mount  Hermon,  and  all  Bashan  unto  Sal- 
cah  ;  12.  All  the  kingdom  ofOg  in  Bashan, 
which  reigned  in  Ashtaroth  and  in  Edrei, 
who  remained  of  the  remnant  of  the  giants : 
for  these  did  Moses  smite,  and  cast  them 
out.  13.  Nevertheless  the  children  of  Is¬ 
rael  expelled  not  the  Geshurites,  nor  the 
Maachathites ;  but  the  Geshurites  and  the 
Maachathites  dwell  among  the  Israelites 
until  this  day.  1 4.  Only  unto  the  tribe  of 
Levi  he  gave  none  inheritance ;  the  sacrifi¬ 
ces  of  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  made  by  fire 
are  their  inheritance,  as  he  said  unto  them. 

1 5.  And  Moses  gave  unto  the  tribe  of  the 
children  of  Reuben  inheritance  according  to 
their  families:  16.  And  their  coast  was 
from  Aroer,  that  is  on  the  bank  of  the  river 
Arnon,  and  the  city  that  is  in  the  midst  of 
the  river,  and  all  the  plain  by  Medeba ;  1  7. 
Heshbon,  and  all  her  cities  that  are  in  the 
plain  ;  Dibon,  and  Bamoth-baal,  and  Beth- 
baal-meon,  18.  And  Jahaza,  and  Kede- 
moth,  and  Mephaath,  19.  And  Kirjathaim, 
and  Sibmah,  and  Zareth-shahar  in  the 
mount  of  the  valley,  20.  And  Beth-peor, 
and  Ashdoth-pisgah,  and  Beth-jeshimoth, 
21.  And  all  the  cities  of  the  plain,  and  all 
the  kingdom  of  Sihon  king  of  the  Amorites, 
which  reigned  in  Heshbon,  whom  Moses 
smote  with  the  princes  of  Midian,  Evi,  and 
Rekem,  and  Zur,  and  Hur,  and  Reba, 
which  ivere  dukes  of  Sihon,  dwelling  in  the 
country.  22.  Baalam  also  the  son  of  Beor, 
the  soothsayer,  did  the  children  of  Israel 
slay  with  the  sword  among  them  that  were 
slain  by  them.  23.  And  the  border  of  the 
Vol.  ii. — T 


V,  XIII. 

children  of  Reuben  was  Jordan,  and  the 
border  thereof.  This  was  the  inheritance 
of  the  childi en  of  Reuben  after  their  fami¬ 
lies,  the  cities  and  villages  thereof.  24 
And  Moses  gave  inheritance  unto  the  tribe 
of  Gad,  even  unto  the  children  of  Gad  ac¬ 
cording  to  their  families:  25  And  their 
coast  was  Jazer,  and  all^he  cities  of  Gi 
lead,  and  half  the  land  of  tlw  children  of  Am 
mon,  unto  Aroer  that  is  before  Rabbah ; 
26.  And  from  Heshbon  unto  Ramath-rniz- 
peh,  and  Betonim ;  and  from  Mahanaim 
unto-  the  border  of  Debir ;  27.  Ana  in  the 
valley,  Beth-aram,  and  Beth-nimrah,  and 
Succoth,  and  Zaphon,  the  rest  of  the  king¬ 
dom  of  Sihon  king  of  Heshbon,  Jordan  and 
his  border,  even  unto  the  edge  of  the  sea  of 
Chinneroth,  on  the  other  side  Jordan  east¬ 
ward.  28.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the 
children  of  Gad  after  their  families,  the 
cities,  and  their  villages.  29.  And  Moses 
gave  inheritance  unto  the  half  tribe  of  Ma¬ 
nasseh  :  and  this  was  the  possession  of  the 
half  tribe  of  the  children  of  Manasseh  by 
their  families.  30.  And  their  coast  was 
from  Mahanaim,  all  Bashan,  all  the  king¬ 
dom  of  Og  king  of  Bashan,  and  all  the 
towns  of  Jair,  which  are  in  Bashan,  three¬ 
score  cities;  31.  And  half  Gilead,  and 
Ashteroth,  and  Edrei,  cities  of  the  kingdom 
of  Og  in  Bashan,  were  pertaining  unto  the 
children  of  Machir  the  son  of  Manasseh, 
even  to  the  one  half  of  the  children  of  Machir 
by  their  families.  32.  These  are  the  coun¬ 
tries  which  Moses  did  distribute  for  inherit¬ 
ance  in  the  plains  of  Moab,  on  the  other 
side  Jordan,  by  Jericho,  eastward.  33.  But 
unto  the  tribe  of  Levi,  Moses  gave  not  any 
inheritance :  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  was 
their  inheritance,  as  he  said  unto  them. 

Here  we  have, 

I.  Orders  given  to  Joshua  to  assign  to  each  tribe 
its  portion  of  this  land,  including  that  which  was 
yet  unsubdued,  which  must  be  brought  into  the  lot, 
in  a  believing  confidence  that  it  should  be  conquered 
when  Israel  was  multiplied,  so  as  to  have  occasion 
for  it,  v.  7,  JVoiv  divide  this  land.  Joshua  thought 
all  must  be  conquered,  before  any  must  be  divided: 
“No,”  said  God,  “there  is  as  much  conquered  as 
will  serve  your  turn  for  the  present,  divide  that, 
and  make  your  best  of  it,  and  wait  for  the  remain¬ 
der  hereafter.”  Note,  We  must  take  the  comfort 
of  what  we  have,  though  we  cannot  compass  all  we 
would  have.  Observe, 

1.  The  land  must  be  divided  among  the  several 
tribes,  and  they  must  always  live  in  common,  as 
now  they  did.  Which  way  soever  a  just  property 
is  acquired,  it  is  the  will  of  that  God  who  has  given 
the  earth  to  the  children  of  men,  that  there  should 
be  such  a  thing,  and  that  every  man  should  know 
his  own,  and  not  invade  that  which  is  another’s. 
The  world  must  be  governed,  not  by  force,  but 
right,  b.y  the  law  of  equity,  not  of  arms. 

2.  That  it  must  be  divided  for  an  inheritance, 
though  they  got  it  by  conquest.  (1.)  The  promise 


Joshua,  xm. 


of  it  came  to  them  as  an  inheritance  from  their 
fathers;  the  land  of  promise  pertained  to  the  chil- 
Iren  of  promise,  who  were  thus  beloved  for  their 
fathers’  sakes,  and  in  performance  of  the  covenant 
with  them.  (2.)  The  possession  of  it  was  to  be 
transmitted  by  them,  as  an  inheritance  to  their 
children.  Frequently,  what  is  got  by  force,  is  soon 
lost  again;  but  Israeli  having  an  incontestable  title 
to  this  land  by  the  divine  grant,  might  see  it  thereby 
secured  as  ah  inheritance  to  their  seed  after  them, 
and  that  God  kep^lis  mercy  for  thousands. 

3.  That  Joshua  must  divide  it,  not  by  his  own 
will;  though  he  was  a  very  wise,  just,  and  good  man, 
it  must  not  be  left  to  him  to  give  what  he  pleased  to 
each  tribe;  but  he  must  do  it  by  lot,  which  referred 
‘he  matter  wholly  to  God,  and  to  his  determination, 
for  he  it  is  that  appoints  the  bounds  of  our  habita¬ 
tion,  and  every  man’s  judgment  must  proceed  from 
him.  But  Joshua  must  preside  in  this  affair,  must 
manage  this  solemn  appeal  to  Providence,  and  see 
that  the  lot  was  drawn  fairly  and  without  fraud,  and 
that  every  tribe  did  acquiesce  in  it.  The  lot  indeed 
causeth  contention  to  cease,  Prov.  18.  18.  But  if 
upon  this  lot  any  controversy  should  arise,  Joshua 
by  his  wisdom  and  authority  must  determine  it, 
arid  prevent  any  ill  consequences  of  it.  Joshua 
must  have  the  honour  of  dividing  the  land,  (1.)  Be¬ 
cause  he  had  undergone  the  fatigue  of  conquering 
it;  and  when,  through  his  hand,  each  tribe  received 
its  allotment,  they  would  thereby  be  made  the 
more  sensible  of  their  obligations  to  him.  And 
what  a  pleasure  must  it  needs  be  to  a  man  of  such 
a  public  spirit  as  Joshua  was,  to  see  the  peop’e  that 
were  so  dear  to  him,  eating  the  labour  of  his  hands! 
(2.)  That  he  might  be  herein  a  type  of  Christ,  who 
has  not  only  conquered  for  us  the  gates  of  hell,  but 
has  opened  to  us  the  gates  of  heaven,  and  having 
purchased  the  eternal  inheritance  for  all  believers, 
will  in  due  time  put  them  all  in  possession  of  it. 

II.  An  account  is  here  given  of  the  distribution 
of  the  land  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  among  the 
Reubenites,  and  Gadites,  and  half  of  the  tribe  of 
Manasseh,  which  comes  in,  1.  As  the  reason  why 
this  land  within  Jordan  must  be  divided  only  to  the 
nine  tribes  and  a  half,  because  the  other  two  and  a 
half  were  already  provided  for.  2.  As  a  pattern  to 
Joshua  in  the  work  he  had  now  to  do.  He  had 
seen  Moses  distribute  the  land,  which  would  give 
him  some  aim  in  distributing  this,  and  from  thence 
he  might  take  his  measures;  only  this  was  to  be 
done  by  lot,  but  it  should  seem,  Moses  did  that  him¬ 
self,  according  to  the  wisdom  given  unto  him.  3. 
As  an  inducement  to  Joshua  to  hasten  the  dividing 
of  thisdand,  that  the  nine  tribes  and  a  half  might 
not  be  kept  any  longer  than  was  necessary  out  of 
their  possession,  since  their  brethren  of  the  two 
tribes  and  a  half  were  so  well  settled  in  their’s;  and 
God,  their  common  Father,  would  not  have  such  a 
difference  made  between  his  children. 

(1.)  Here  is  a  general  description  of  the  country 
that  was  given  to  the  two  tribes  and  a  half,  which 
Moses  gave  them,  even  as  Moses  gave  them,  v.  8. 
The  repetition  implies  a  ratification  of  the  grant  by 
Joshua,  Moses  settled  that  matter,  and  as  Moses 
settled  it,  so  shall  it  rest;  Joshua  will  not,  under  any 
pretence  whatsoever,  go  about  to  alter  it.  And  a 
reason  is  intimated  why  he  would  not,  because  Mo¬ 
ses  was  the  servant  of  the  Lord,  and  acted  in  this 
matter  by  secret  direction  from  him,  and  was  faith¬ 
ful  as  a  servant.  Here  we  have,  [1.]  The  fixing 
of  the  boundaries  of  this  country,  by  which  they 
were  divided  from  the  neighbouring  nations,  v.  9, 
ifc.  Israel  must  know  their  own,  and  keep  to  it, 
and  may  not  under  pretence  of  their  being  God’s 
peculiar  people,  encroach  upon  their  neighbours, 
and  invade  their  rights  and  properties,  to  which 
they  had  a  good  and  firm  title  by  providence. 


though  not,  as  Israel,  a  title  by  premise.  [2.]  An 
exception  of  one  part  of  this  country  fr<  m  Israel’s 
possession,  though  it  was  in  their  gr.mt,  namely,  the 
Geshurites,  and  the  Maachathites,  v.  13.  They 
had  not  leisure  to  reduce  all  the  remote  and  ob¬ 
scure  corners  of  the  country  in  Moses’s  time,  and 
afterward  they  had  no  mind  to  it,  being  easy  with 
what  they  had.  Thus  those  who  are  not  straitened 
in  God’s  promises,  are  yet  straitened  in  their  own 
faith,  and  prayers,  and  endeavours. 

(2.)  A  particular  account  of  the  inheritance  of 
these  two  tribes  and  a  half;  how  they  were  sepa¬ 
rated  from  each  other,  and  what  cities,  with  the 
towns,  villages,  and  fields,  commonly  known  and 
reputed  to  be  appurtenances- to  them,  belonged  to 
each  tribe.  This  is  very  fully  and  exactly  set 
down,  [1.]  That  posterity  might,  in  reading  this 
history,  be  the  more  affected  with  the  goedness  of 
God  to  their  ancestors,  when  they  found  what  a 
large  and  fruitful  country,  and  what  abundance  of 
great  and  famous  cities,  he  put  them  in  possession 
of.  God’s  grants  look  best,  when  we  descend  to  the 
particulars.  [2.]  That  the  limits  of  each  tribe 
being  punctually  set  down  in  this  authentic  record, 
disputes  might  be  prevented,  and  such  contests 
between  the  tribes,  as  commonly  happen  where 
boundaries  have  not  been  adjusted,  nor  this  matter 
brought  to  a  certainty.  And  Ave  ha\  e  reason  to 
think  that  the  register  here  prescribed  and  pub¬ 
lished  of  the  lot  of  each  tribe,  was  of  great  use  to 
Israel  in  after-ages,  was  often  appealed  to,  and 
always  acquiesced  in,  for  the  determining  of  meuni 
and  iuam — mine  and  thine. 

First,  We  have  here  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Reu¬ 
ben,  Jacob’s  first-born ;  who,  though  he  had  lest 
the  dignity  and  power  which  pertained  to  the  birth¬ 
right,  yet,  it  seems  had  the  advantage  of  being  first 
served.  Perhaps  those  of  that  tribe  had  an  eye  to 
this,  in  desiring  to  be  seated  on  that  side  Jordan, 
that,  since  they  could  not  expect  the  benefit  of  the 
best  lot,  they  might  have  the  credit  of  the  first.  In 
the  account  of  the  lot  of  this  tribe,  mention  is  made 
of  the  slaughter,  1.  Of  Sihon,  king  of  the  Amorites, 
who  reigned  in  this  country,  and  might  have  kept 
it  and  his  life,  if  he  would  have  been  neighbourly, 
and  have  suffered  Israel  to  pass  through  his  territo¬ 
ries,  but,  by  attempting  to  oppose  them,  justly 
brought  ruin  upon  himself,  Numb.  21.  21,  Lfc.  2. 
Of  the  princes  of  Midian,  who  were  slain  after¬ 
ward  in  another  war,  Numb.  31.  8.  and  yet  are 
here  called  dukes  of  Sihon,  and  are  said  to  be 
smitten  with  him,  because  they  were  either  tributa¬ 
ries  to  him,  or,  in  his  opposition  to  Israel,  confeder¬ 
ates  with  him,  and  hearty  in  his  interests,  and  his 
fall  made  rvay  for  their’s  not  long  after.  3.  Of  Ba¬ 
laam  particularly,  that  would,  if  he  could,  have 
cursed  Israel,  and  Avas  soon  after  recompensed 
according  to  the  wickedness  of  his  endeavour,  Ps. 
28.  4.  For  he  fell  with  those  that  set  him  on. 
This  Avas  recorded  before,  Numb.  31.  8.  and  is  here 
repeated,  because  the  defeating  of  Balaam’s  pur¬ 
pose  to  curse  Israel,  was  the  turning  of  that  curse 
into  a  blessing,  and  was  such  an  instance  of  the 
poiver  and  goodness  of  God,  as  was  fit  to  be  had  in 
everlasting  remembrance.  See  Micah  6.  5. 

Within  the  lot  of  this  tribe  Avas  that  mount  Pis- 
gah,  from  the  top  of  which  Moses  took  his  aucav 
of  the  earthly  Canaan,  and  his  flight  to  the  hea¬ 
venly.  And  not  far  off  thence  Elijah  avos,  when  he 
was  fetched  up  to  heaven  in  a  chariot  of  fire.  The 
separation  of  this  tribe  from  the  rest  by  the  river 
Jordan,  was  that  Avhich  Deborah  lamented;  and  the 
preference  they  gave  to  their  private  interests 
above  the  public,  was  Avhat  she  censured,  Judg.  5. 
15,  16.  In  this  tribe  lay  Heshbon  and  Sibmnh, 
famed  for  their  fruitful  fields  and  vineyards.  See 
|j  Tsa.  16.  8,  9.  Jer.  48.  32.  This  tribe,  with  that 


JOSHUA,  XIV.  (5? 


of  Gad,  was  sorely  shaken  by  Hazael  king  of  Syria, 
2  Kings  10.  33.  and  afterward  dislodged  and  carried 
into  captivity,  twenty  years  before  the  general  cap¬ 
tivity  of  the  ten  tribes  by  the  king  of  Assyria,  1 
Chron.  5.  26. 

Secondly,  The  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Gad,  v.  24*  *28. 
This  lay  north  of  Reuben’s  lot;  the  country  of 
Gilead  lay  in  this  tribe,  so  famous  for  its  balm,  that 
it  is  thought  strange  indeed  if  there  be  no  balm  in 
Gilead,  and  the  cities  of  Jabesh-Gilead,  and  Ra- 
moth-Gilead,  which  we  often  read  of  in  scripture. 
Succoth  and  Peniel,  which  we  read  of  in  the  story 
of  Gideon,  were  in  this  tribe;  and  that  forest  which 
is  called  the  wood  of  Ephraim,  (from  the  slaughter 
Jephthah  made  thereof  the  Ephraimites,)  in  which 
Absalom’s  rebellious  army  was  beaten,  while  his 
father  David  lay  at  Mahanaim,  one  of  the  frontier- 
cities  of  this  tribe,  v.  26.  Sharon  was  in  this  tribe, 
famous  for  Roses.  And  within  the  limits  of  this 
tribe  lived  those  Gadarenes,  that  loved  their  swine 
better  than  their  Saviour,  fitter  to  be  called  Gar- 
gashites  than  Israelites. 

Thirdly,  The  lot  of  the  half-tribe  of  Manasseh, 
v.  29*  *31.  Bashan,  the  kingdom  of  Og,  was  in 
this  allotment,  famous  for  the  best  timber,  witness 
the  oaks  of  Bashan,  and  the  best  breed  of  cattle, 
witness  the  bulls  and  rams  of  Bashan.  This  tribe 
lay  north  of  Gad,  reached  to  mount  Hermon,  and 
had  in  it  part  of  Gilead.  Mizpeli  was  in  this  half¬ 
tribe,  and  Jephthah  was  one  of  its  ornaments;  so 
was  Elijah,  for  in  this  tribe  was  Thisbe,  whence  he 
is  called  the  Tishbite,  and  Jair  was  another.  In 
the  edge  of  the  tribe  stood  Chorazin,  honoured 
with  Christ’s  wondrous  works,  but  ruined  by  his 
righteous  woe  for  not  improving  them. 

Lastly,  Twice  in  this  chapter  it  is  taken  notice 
of,  that  to  the  tribe  of  Levi  Afoses  gave  no  inherit - 
ance,  v.  14.  33.  for  so  God  had  appointed,  Numb. 
18.  20.  If  they  had  been  appointed  to  a  lot  entire 
by  themselves,  Moses  would  have  served  them  first, 
not  because  it  was  his  own  tribe,  but  because  it  was 
God’s,  but  they  must  be  provided  for  in  another 
manner;  their  habitations  must  be  scattered  in  all  the 
tribes,  and  their  maintenance  brought  out  of  all  the 
tribes,  and  God  himself  was  the  portion  both  of  their 
inheritance  and  of  their  cup,  Deut.  10.  9. — 18.  2. 

CHAR  XIV. 

Here  is,  I.  The  general  method  that  was  taken  in  dividing 
the  land,  v.  1..5.  II.  The  demand  Caleb  made  of 
Hebron,  as  his  by  promise,  and  therefore  not  to  be  put 
into  the  lot  with  the  rest,  v.  6  .  .  12.  III.  And  Joshua’s 
grant  of  that  demand,  v.  13..  15.  This  was  done  at 
Gilgal,  which  was  as  yet  their  head-quarters. 

1.  4  ND  these  are  the  countries  which  the 
J\  children  of  Israel  inherited  in  the 
land  of  Canaan,  which  Eleazar  the  priest, 
and  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun,  and  the  heads 
of  the  fathers  of  the  tribes  of  the  children 
of  Israel,  distributed  for  inheritance  to 
them.  2.  By  lot  was  their  inheritance,  as 
the  Lord  commanded  by  the  hand  of  Mo¬ 
ses,  for  the  nine  tribes,  and  for  the  half 
tribe.  3.  F or  Moses  had  given  the  inherit¬ 
ance  of  two  tribes  and  a  half  tribe  on  the 
other  side  Jordan  :  but  unto  the  Levites  he 
gave  none  inheritance  among  them.  4. 
For  the  children  of  Joseph  were  two  tribes, 
Manasseh  and  Ephraim:  therefore  they 
gave  no  part  unto  the  Levites  in  the  land, 
save  cities  to  dwell  in,  with  their  suburbs 
for  their  cattle  and  for  their  substance.  5. 


As  the  Lord  commanded  Moses,  so  the 
children  of  Israel  did,  and  they  divided  the 
land. 

The  historian,  having  in  the  foregoing  chapter 
given  an  account  of  the  disposal  of  the  countries  on 
the  other  side  Jordan,  now  comes  to  tell  us  whal 
they  did  with  the  countries  in  the  land  of  Canaan. 
They  were  not  conquered  to  be  left  desert,  a  habi¬ 
tation  for  dragons,  and  a  court  for  owls,  Isa.  34. 
13.  tfo.  The  Israelites  that  had  hitherto  been 
closely  encamped  in  a  body,  and  the  greatest  part 
of  them  such  as  never  knew  any  other  way  cf  liv¬ 
ing,  must  now  disperse  themselves  to  replenish 
these  new  conquests.  It  is  said  of  the  earth,  Goa 
created  it  not  in  vain,  he  formed  it  to  be  inhabited, 
Isa.  45.  18.  Canaan  would  have  been  subdued  in 
vain,  if  it  had  not  been  inhabited.  Yet  every  man 
might  not  go  and  settle  where  he  pleased,  but  as 
there  seems  to  have  been  in  the  days  of  Peleg  an 
orderly  and  regular  division  of  the  habitable  earth 
among  the  sons  of  Noah,  Gen.  10.  25,  32.  so  there 
was  now  such  a  division  of  the  land  of  Canaan 
among  the  sons  of  Jacob.  God  had  given  Moses 
directions  how  this  distribution  should  be  made,  and 
those  directions  are  here  punctually  observed.  See 
Numb.  33.  53,  Lfc. 

I.  The  managers  of  this  great  affair,  were  Joshua 
the  chief  magistrate,  Eleazar  the  chief  priest,  and 
ten  princes,  one  of  each  of  the  tribes  that  were  now 
to  have  their  inheritance,  whom  God  himself  had 
nominated  (Numb.  34.  17,  itfc.)  some  years  before, 
and  it  should  seem,  they  were  all  now  in  being,  and 
attended  this  service,  that  every  tribe  having  a 
representative  of  its  own,  might  be  satisfied  that 
there  was  fair  dealing,  and  might  the  more  con¬ 
tentedly  sit  down  by  its  lot. 

II.  The  tribes  among  whom  this  dividend  was  to 
be  made,  were  nine  and  a  half.  1.  Not  the  two 
and  a  half  that  were  already  seated,  v.  3.  though 
perhaps  now  that  they  saw  what  a  good  land  Ca¬ 
naan  was,  and  how  effectually  it  was  subdued,  they 
might  some  of  them  repent  their  choice,  and  wish 
they  had  now  been  to  have  their  lot  with  their  bre¬ 
thren,  upon  which  condition  they  would  gladly 
have  given  up  what  they  had  on  the  other  side  Jor¬ 
dan;  but  it  would  not  lie  admitted,  they  had  made 
their  election  without  power  of  -revocation,  and  so 
must  their  dorm  be,  themselves  have  decided  it, 
they  must  adhere  to  their  choice.  2.  Not  the  tribe' 
of  Levi,  that  was  to  be  otherwise  provided  for. 
God  had  distinguished  them  from,  and  dignified 
them  above,  the  other  tribes,  and  they  must  not 
now  mingle  themselves  with  them,  nor  cast  in  their 
lot  among  them,  for  that  would  entangle  them  in 
the  affairs  of  this  life,  which  would  not  consist  with 
a  due  attendance  on  their  sacred  function.  But,  3. 
Joseph  made  two  tribes,  Manasseh  and  Ephraim, 
pursuant  to  Jacob’s  adoption  of  Joseph’s  two  sons, 
and  so  the  number  of  the  tribes  was  kept  up  to 
twelve,  though  Levi  was  taken  out,  which  is  inti¬ 
mated  here,  v.  4,  The  children  of  Joseph  were  two 
tribes,  therefore  they  gave  no  part  to  Levi,  they  be¬ 
ing  twelve  without  him. 

III.  The  rule  by  which  they  went,  was  the  lot, 
v.  2.  The  disposal  of  that  is  of  the  Lord,  Prov.  16. 
33.  It  was  here  used  in  an"  affair  of  weight,  and 
which  could  not  otherwise  be  accommodated  to  uni¬ 
versal  satisfaction,  and  it  was  used  in  a  solemn  reli¬ 
gious  manner  as  an  appeal  to  God,  by  consent  of 
parties.  In  dividing  by  lot,  1.  They  referred  them¬ 
selves  to  God,  and  to  his  wisdom  and  sovereignty, 
believing  him  fitter  to  determine  for  them,  than 
they  for  themselves,  Ps.  47.  4,  He  shall  choose  our 
inheritance  for  us.  2.  They  professed  a  willingness 
to  abide  by  the  determination  of  it;  for  every  man 
must  take  what  is  his  lot,  and  make  the  best  of  it. 


r»s 


JOSHUA,  XIV. 


In  allusion  to  this,  we  are  said  to  obtain  an  inherit¬ 
ance  in  Christ,  Eph.  1.  11*  we  have 

obtained  it  by  lot.  So  the  word  signifies;  for  it  is 
obtained  by  a  divine  designation.  Christ,  our  Josh¬ 
ua,  gives  eternal  life  to  us  many  as  were  given  him, 
John  17.  2. 

G.  Then  the  children  of  Judah  came  unto 
Joshua  in  Gilgal :  and  Caleb  the  son  of  Je- 
phunneh  the  Kenezite  said  unto  him,  Thou 
knowest  the  thing  that  the  Lord  said  unto 
Moses  the  man  of  God  concerning  me  and 
thee  in  Kadesh-barnea.  7.  Forty  years  old 
mas  I  when  Moses  the  servant  of  the  Lord 
sent  me  from  Kadesh-barnea  to  espy  out 
the  land  ;  and  I  brought  him  word  again  as 
it  was  in  mine  heart.  8.  Nevertheless  my 
brethren  that  went  up  with  me  made  the 
heart  of  the  people  melt :  but  1  wholly  fol¬ 
lowed  the  Lord  my  God.  9.  And  Moses 
sware  on  that  day,  saying,  Surely  the  land 
whereon  thy  feet  have  trodden  shall  be 
thine  inheritance,  and  thy  children’s  for 
ever,  because  thou  hast  wholly  followed 
the  Lord  my  God.  10.  And  now,  behold, 
the  Lord  hath  kept  me  alive,  as  he  said, 
these  forty  and  five  years,  even  since  the 
Lord  spake  this  word  unto  Moses,  while 
the  children  of  Israel  wandered  in  the  wil¬ 
derness  :  and  now,  lo,  I  am  this  day  four¬ 
score  and  five  years  old.  11.  As  yet  I  am 
as  strong  this  clay  as  I  teas  in  the  day  that 
Moses  sent  me:  as  my  strength  was  then, 
even  so  is  my  strength  now,  for  war,  both 
to  go  out  and  to  come  in.  12.  Now  there¬ 
fore  give  me  this  mountain,  whereof  the 
Lord  spake  in  that  day  ;  for  thou  heardest 
in  that  day  how  the  Anakims  were  there, 
and  that  the  cities  were  great  and  fenced  :  if 
so  be  the  Lord  will  he  with  me,  then  I 
shall  be  able  to  drive  them  out,  as  the  Lord 
said.  1 3.  And  Joshua  blessed  him,  and  gave 
unto  Caleb,  the  son  of  Jephunneh,  Hebron 
for  an  inheritance.  14.  Hebron  therefore 
became  the  inheritance  of  Caleb,  the  son 
of  Jephunneh  the  Kenezite  unto  this  day, 
because  that  he  wholly  followed  the  Lord 
God  of  Israel.  15.  And  the  name  of  He¬ 
bron  before  was  Kirjath-arba :  which  Arha 
was  a  great  man  among  the  Anakims.  And 
the  land  had  rest  from  war. 

Before  the  lot  was  cast  into  the  lap  for  the  deter¬ 
mining  of  the  portions  of  the  respective  tribes,  the 
particular  portion  of  Caleb  is  assigned  him,  who 
was  now,  except  Joshua,  not  only  the  oldest  man  in 
all  Israel,  but  was  twenty  years  older  than  any  of 
them,  for  all  that  were  above  twenty  years  old 
when  he  was  forty,  were  dead  in  the  wilderness;  it 
was  fit  therefore  that  this  phoenix  of  his  age  should 
have  some  particular  marks  of  honour  put  upon 
him  in  the  dividing  of  the  land.  Now, 

I.  Caleb  here  presents  his  petition,  or  rather, 
makes  his  demand,  to  have  Hebron  given  him  for 
a  possession,  ( this  mountain ,  he  calls  it,  v.  12.)  and 


not  to  have  that  put  into  the  lot  with  the  other 
parts  of  the  country.  To  justify  his  demand,  he 
shows  that  God  had  long  since,  by  Moses,  promised 
him  that  very  mountain;  so  that  God’s  mind  being 
already  made  known  in  this  matter,  it  would  be  a 
vain  and  needless  thing  to  consult  it  any  further  by 
casting  lots,  by  which  we  are  to  appeal  to  God  in 
those  cases  only  which,  cannot  otherwise  be  decided, 
not  in  those  which  like  this  here,  are  already  de¬ 
termined.  Caleb  is  here  called  the  Kenezite,  some 
think,  from  some  remarkable  victory  obtained  by 
him  over  the  Kenezites,  as  the  Romans  gave  their 
great  generals  titles  from  the  countries  they  con¬ 
quered,  as  Africanus,  Germanicus,  & c. 

To  enforce  his  petition,  1.  He  brings  the  children 
of  Judah,  that  is,  the  heads  and  great  men  of  that 
tribe,  along  with  him,  to  present  it,  who  were  will¬ 
ing  thus  to  pay  their  respects  to  that  ornament  of 
their  tribe,  and  to  testify  their  consent  that  he  should 
be  provided  for  by  himself,  and  that  they  would 
not  take  it  as  any  reflection  upon  the  rest  of  his 
tribe.  Caleb  was  the  person  whom  God  had 
chosen  out  of  that  tribe  to  be  employed  in  dividing 
the  land,  Numb.  34.  19.  And  therefore,  lest  he 
should  seem  to  improve  his  authority  as  a  commis¬ 
sioner  for  his  own  private  advantage  and  satisfac¬ 
tion,  he  brings  his  brethren  along  with  him,  and 
waving  his  own  power,  seems  rather  to  rely  upon 
their  interest.  2.  He  appeals  to  Joshua  himself 
concerning  the  truth  of  the  allegations,  upon  which 
he  grounded  his  petition.  Thou  knowest  the  thing; 
v.  6.  3.  He  makes  a  very  honourable  mention  of 

Moses,  which  he  knew  would  not  be  at  all  unpleas¬ 
ing  to  Joshua,  Moses  the  man  of  God,  v.  6.  and  the 
servant  of  the  Lord,  v.  7.  \V hat  Moses  said,  he 
took  as  from  God  himself,  because  Moses  was  his 
mouth,  and  his  agent,  and  therefore  he  had  reason 
both  to  desire  and  expect  it  should  be  made  good. 
What  can  be  more  earnestly  desired  than  the  to¬ 
kens  of  God’s  favour?  And  what  more  confidently 
expected  than  the  grants  of  his  promise? 

Caleb,  in  his  petition,  sets  forth, 

( 1. )  The  testimony  of  his  conscience  concerning 
his  integrity  in  the  management  of  that  great  affair, 
on  which  it  proved  the  fate  of  Israel  turned,  the 
spying  out  of  the  land.  Caleb  was  one  of  the  twelve 
that  were  sent  out  on  that  errand,  v.  7.  and  he  now 
reflected  upon  it  with  comfort,  and  mentioned  i:, 
not  in  pride,  but  as  that  which,  being  the  consider¬ 
ation  of  the  grant,  was  necessary  to  be  inserted  in 
the  plea.  [1.]  That  he  made  his  report  as  it  was 
in  his  heart,  that  is,  he  spake  as  he  thought,  when 
he  spake  so  honourably  of  the  land  of  Canaan,  so 
confidently  of  the  power  of  God  to  put  them  in  pos¬ 
session  of  it,  and  so  contemptibly  of  the  opposition 
that  the  Canaanites,  even  the  Anakims  themselves, 
could  make  against  them,  as  we  find  he  did,  Numb. 
13.  30. — 14.  7*  -9.  He  did  not  do  it  merely  to  please 
Moses,  or  to  keep  the  people  quiet,  much  less  frojn 
a  spirit  of  contradiction  to  his  fellows,  but  from  a 
full  conviction  of  the  truth  of  what  he  said,  and  a 
firm  belief  of  the  divine  promise.  [2.]  That  hcreip 
he  wholly  followed  the  Lord  his  God,  that  is,?  lie 
kept  close  to  his  duty,  and  sincerely  aimed  at  tqe 
glory  of  God  in  it.  He  conformed  himself  to  the 
divine  will  with  an  eye  to  the  divine  favour.  He 
had  obtained  this  testimony  from  God  himself, 
Numb.  14.  24.  and  therefore  it  was  not  vain-glory 
in  him  to  speak  of  it,  any  more  than  it  is  for  thpse 
who  have  God's  S/iirit  witnessing  with  their  s/drits 
that  they  arc  the  children  of  God,  humbly  and 
thankfully  to  tell  others  for  their  encouragement 
what  God  has  done  for  their  souls.  Note;,  They 
that  follow  God  fully  when  they  are  young,  shall 
have  both  the  credit  and  comfort  of  if  when  they 
are  old,  and  the  reward  of  it  for  ever  in  the  heaven¬ 
ly  Canaan.  [3.]  That  he  did  this  when  all  his 


69 


JOSHUA,  XIV. 


brethren  and  companions  in  that  service,  except 
Joshua,  did  otherwise.  They  made  the  heart  of  the 
f ieople  melt,  v.  8.  and  how  pernicious  the  conse¬ 
quences  of  it  were,  was  very  well  known.  It  adds 
much  to  the  praise  of  following  God,  if  we  adhere 
to  him  when  others  desert  and  decline  from  him. 
Caleb  needed  not  to  mention  particularly  Joshua’s 
conduct  in  this  matter,  it  was  sufficiently  known, 
and  he  would  not  seem  to  flatter  him;  it  was  enough 
to  say,  v.  6,  Thou  knowest  what  the  Lord  s/iake 
concerning  me  and  thee. 

(2. )  The  experience  he  had  had  of  God’s  good¬ 
ness  to  him  ever  since  to  this  day.  Though  he  had 
wandered  with  the  rest  in  the  wilderness,  and  had 
been  kept  thirty-eight  years  out  of  Canaan,  as  they 
were,  for  that  sin,  which  he  was  so  far  from  having 
a  hand  in,  that  he  had  done  his  utmost  to  prevent; 
yet,  instead  of  complaining  of  that,  he  mentions,  to 
the  glory  of  God,  his  mercy  to  him  in  two  things, 
[1.]  That  he  was  kept  alive  in  the  wilderness,  not 
only  notwithstanding  the  common  perils  and  fa¬ 
tigues  of  that  tedious  march,  but  though  all  the 
generation  of  Israelites,  except  himself  and  Joshua, 
were  one  way  or  other  cut  off  by  death:  with  what 
a  grateful  sense  of  God’s  goodness  to  him  does  he 
speak  it!  v.  10,  Now,  behold,  (behold  and  wonder,) 
the  Lord  hath  kef  it  me  alive  these  forty  and  five 
years — thirty-eight  years  in  the  wilderness,  through 
the  plagues  of  the  desert,  and  seven  years  in  Ca¬ 
naan  through  the  perils  of  war!  Note,  First, 
While  we  live,  it  is  God  that  keeps  us  alive;  by  his 
power  he  protects  us  from  death,  and  by  his  bounty 
supplies  us  continually  with  the  supports  and  com¬ 
forts  of  life.  He  holdeth  our  soul  in  life.  Secondly, 
The  longer  we  live,  the  more  sensible  we  should  be 
of  God’s  goodness  to  us  in  keeping  us  alive,  his  care 
in  prolonging  our  frail  lives,  his  patience  in  prolong¬ 
ing  our  forfeited  lives.  Has  he  kept  me  alive  these 
f  n'ty-five  years?  Is  it  about  that  time  of  life  with 
us"1  Or  is  it  more?  Or  is  it  less?  We  have  reason 
to  say,  It  is  of  the  Lord's  mercies  that  we  are  not 
consumed.  How  much  are  we  indebted  to  the  fa¬ 
vour  of  God,  and  what  shall  we  render?  Let  the 
life  thus  kept  by  the  providence  of  God,  be  devoted 
to  his  praise.  Thirdly,  The  death  of  many  others 
round  about  us,  should  make  us  the  more  thankful 
to  God  for  sparing  us  and  keeping  us  alive.  Thou¬ 
sands  falling  on  our  right  hand  and  our  left,  and  yet 
ourselves  spared — these  distinguishing  favours  im¬ 
pose  on  us  strong  obligations  to  singular  obedience. 
[2.]  That  he  was  fit  for  business,  now  that  he  was 
in  Canaan.  Though  eighty-five  year^  old,  yet  as 
hearty  and  lively  as  when  he  was  forty,  v.  11,  As 
my  strength  was  then,  so  it  is  now.  This  was  the 
fruit  of  the  promise,  and  out-did  what  was  said;  for.  I 
God  not  only  gives  what  he  promises,  but  he  gives 
more;  life  by  promise,  shall  be  life,  and  health,  and 
strength,  and  all  that  which  will  make  the  pro¬ 
mised  life  a  blessing  and  a  comfort.  Moses  had 
said  in  his  prayer,  Ps.  90.  10.  that  at  eighty  years 
old  even  their  strength  is  labour  and  sorrow,  and 
so  it  is  most  commonly,  but  Caleb  was  an  excep¬ 
tion  to  the  rule;  his  strength  at  eighty-five  was 
ease  and  joy,  this  he  got  by  following  the  Lord  ful¬ 
ly.  Caleb  takes  notice  of  this  here  to  the  glory  of 
God,  and  as  an  excuse  for  his  asking  a  portion 
which  he  must  fetch  out  of  the  giants’  hands:  let 
not  Joshua  tell  him  he  knew  not  what  he  asked;  could 
he  get  the  possession  of  that  which  he  begged  for  a  ; 
title  to?  “Yes,”  says  he,  “why  not?  I  am  as  fit 
for  war  now  as  ever  I  was.  ” 

(3.)  The  promise  Moses  had  made  him  in  God’s 
name,  that  he  should  have  this  mountain,  v.  9. 
This  promise  is  his  chief  plea,  and  that  on  which 
he  relies.  As  we  find  it,  Numb.  14.  24.  it  is  gene¬ 
ral,  him  will  I  bring  into  the  land  whereunto  fc 
went,  and  his  seed  shall  possess  it:  but  it  seems  it 


was  more  particular,  and  Joshua  knew  it;  both 
sides  understood  this  mountain  for  which  Caleb  was 
now  a  suitor,  to  be  intended.  This  was  the  place 
from  which,  more  than  any  other,  the  spies  took 
their  report,  for  here  they  met  with  the  sons  of 
Anak,  Numb.  13.  22.  the  sight  of  whom  made  such 
an  impression  upon  them,  v.  33.  We  may  suppose 
that  Caleb,  observing  what  stress  they  laid  upon 
the  difficulty  of  conquering  Hebron,  a  city  garri¬ 
soned  by  the  giants,  and  how  from  thence  they  in¬ 
ferred  that  the  conquest  of  the  whole  land  was  ut¬ 
terly  impracticable,  in  opposition  to  their  sugges¬ 
tions,  and  to  convince  the  people  that  he  spake  as 
he  thought,  bravely  desired  to  have  that  city  which 
they  called  invincible,  assigned  to  himself  for  his 
own  portion;  “I  will  undertake  to  deal  with  that, 
and  if  I  cannot  get  it  for  my  inheritance,  I  will  be 
without.”  “  Well,”  said  Moses,  “it  shall  be  thine 
own  then,  win  it  and  wear  it.”  Such  a  noble  heroic 
spirit  Caleb  had,  and  so  desirous  was  he  to  inspire 
his  brethren  with  it,  that  he  chose  this  place,  only 
because  it  was  the  most  difficult  to  be  conquered. 
And  to  show  that  his  soul  did  not  decay  any  more 
than  his  body,  now  forty  five  years  after  he  adheres 
to  his  choice,  and  is  still  of  the  same  mind. 

(4.)  The  hopes  he  had  of  being  master  of  it, 
though  the  som  of  Anak  were  in  possession  of  it, 
v.  12,  If  the  Lord  will  be  with  me,  then  I  shall  be 
able  to  drive  them  out.  The  city  of  Hebron  Joshua 
had  already  reduced,  ch.  10.  37.  but  the  mountain 
which  belonged  to  it,  and  which  was  inhabited  by 
the  sons  of  Anak,  was  yet  unconquered,  for  though 
the  cutting  off  the  Anakimsfrom  Hebron  was  men¬ 
tioned,  ch.  11.  21.  because  the  historian  would  re¬ 
late  all  the  military  actions  together,  yet  it  seems  it 
was  not  conquered  till  after  they  had  begun  to  di¬ 
vide  the  land.  Observe,  He  builds  his  hopes  of 
driving  out  the  sons  of  Anak  upon  the  presence  of 
God  with  him.  He  does  not  say,  “  Because  I  am 
now  as  strong  for  war  as  I  was  at  forty,  therefore  I 
shall  drive  them  out,”  depending  upon  his  personal 
valour;  nor  does  he  depend  upon  his  interest  in  the 
warlike  tribe  of  Judah,  who  attended  him  now  in 
making  this  address,  and  no  doubt  would  assist  him. 
Nor  does  he  court  Joshua’s  aid,  or  put  it  upon  that. 
If  thou  wilt  be  with  me  I  shall  gain  my  point.” 
But  if  the  Lord  will  be  with  me.  Here,  [1.]  He 
seems  to  speak  doubtfully  of  God’s  being  with  him, 
not  from  any  distrust  of  his  goodness  or  faithfulness. 
He  had  spoken  without  the  least  hesitation  of  God’s 
presence  with  Israel  in  general,  Numb.  14.  9,  The 
Lord  is  with  us;  but  for  himself,  from  a  humble 
sense  of  his  own  unworthiness  of  such  a  favour,  he 
chooses  to  express  himself  thus,  If  the  Lord  will  be 
with  me.  The  Chaldee  paraphrase  reads  it,  If  the 
Word  of  the  Lord  be  my  helper,  that  Word  which 
is  God,  and  in  the  fulness  of  time  was  made  flesh, 
and  is  the  Captain  of  our  salvation.  [2.]  But 
he  speaks  without  the  least  doubt,  he  is  assured 
that  if  God  were  with  him,  he  should  be  able  to 
dispossess  the  sons  of  Anak.  “  If  God  be  with  us, 
if  God  be  for  us,  who  can  be  against  us,  so  as  to  pre¬ 
vail?”  It  is  also  intimated  that  if  God  were  not 
with  him,  though  all  the  forces  of  Israel  should 
come  in  to  his  assistance,  he  should  not  be  able  to 
gain  his  point.  Whatever  we  undertake,  God’s 
favourable  presence  with  us  is  all  in  all  to  our  suc  ¬ 
cess;  that  therefore  we  must  earnestly  pray  for, 
and  carefully  make  sure  of,  by  keeping  ourselves  in 
the  love  of  God;  and  on  that  we  must  depend,  and 
from  that  take  our  encouragement  against  the 
greatest  difficulties. 

Upon  the  whole  matter,  Caleb’s  request  is,  12, 
Give  me  this  mountain,  First,  Because  it  was  for¬ 
merly  in  God’s  promise,  and  he  would  le^  Israel 
know  how  much  he  valued  the  promise,  insisting 
upon  this  mountain,  whereof  the  Lord  spake  in  that 


JOSHUA,  XV. 


( lay,  as  nv'st  desirable,  though  perhaps  as  good  a 
portion  might  have  fallen  to  him  by  lot  in  common 
with  the  rest.  They  that  live  bv  faith,  value  that 
which  is  given  bv  promise  far  above  that  which  is 
given  by  providence  only.  Secondly ,  Because  it  was 
now  in  the  Anakims’  possession,  and  he  would  let 
Israel  know  how  little  he  feared  the  enemy,  and 
would  bv  his  example  animate  them  to  push  on  their 
conquests.  Herein  Caleb  answered  his  name,  which 
signifies  all  heart. 

IT.  Joshua  grants  his  petition,  v.  13,  Joshua  bless¬ 
ed  him,  commended  his  bravery,  applauded  his  re¬ 
quest,  and  ga\  e  him  what  he  asked.  He  also  prayed 
for  him,  and  for  his  good  success  in  his  intended 
undertaking  against  the  . sons  of  Anak.  Joshua  was 
both  a  prince  and  a  prophet,  and  upon  both  accounts 
it  was  proper  for  him  to  give  Caleb  his  blessing,  for 
the  less  is  blessed  of  the  better.  Hebron  was  settled 
on  Caleb  and  his  heirs,  v.  14,  because  he  wholly 
followed  the  Lord  God  of  Israel.  And  happy  are 
we  if  we  follow  him.  Note,  Singular  piety  shall  be 
crowned  with  singular  favours.  Now,  1.  We  are 
here  told  what  Hebron  had  been;,  the  city  of  Arba, 
a  great  man  among  the  Anaidms,  v.  15.  we  find  it 
called  Kirjath-arba,  Gen.  23.  2.  as  the  place  where 
Sarah  died.  Hereabouts  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Ja¬ 
cob,  lived  most  of  their  time  in  Canaan,  and  near  to 
it  was  the  cave  of  Machpelah  where  they  were  bu¬ 
ried,  which  perhaps  had  led  Caleb  hither,  when  he 
went  to  spy  out  the  land,  and  had  made  him  covet 
tills  rather  than  any  other  part  for  his  inheritance. 
2.  We  are  afterward  told  what  Hebron  was.  (1.) 
It  was  one  of  the  cities  belonging  to  the  priests. 
Josh.  21.  13.  and  a  city  of  refuge.  Josh.  20.  7.  when 
Caleb  had  it,  he  contented  himself  with  the  country 
about  it,  and  cheerfully  gave  the  city  to  the  priests 
and  Lord’s  ministers:  thinking  it  coukl  not  be  better 
bestowed,  no  not  upon  his  own  children,  nor  that  it 
was  the  less  his  own  for  being  thus  devoted  to  God. 
(2  )  It  was  a  royal  city,  and  in  the  beginning  of  Da¬ 
vid’s  reign  the  metropolis  of  the  kingdom  of  Judah; 
tliither  the  poople  resorted  to  him,  and  there  he 
reigned  seven  years.  Thus  highly  was  Caleb’s  city 
honoured;  pity  there  should  have  been  such  a  ble¬ 
mish  upon  his  family  long  after,  as  Nabal  was,  who 
was  of  the  house  of  Caleb,  lSm  25.3.  But  the 
nest  men  cannot  entail  their  \irtues. 

CHAP.  XV. 

The  land,  though  not  completely  conquered,  yet  being  (as 
was  said  in  the  close  of  the  foregoing  chapter)  at  rest 
from  mar,  for  the  present,  their  armies  all  drawn  out  of 
the  field  to  a  general  rendezvous  at  Gilgal,  there  they 
began  to  divide  the  land,  though  the  work  was  afterward 
perfected  at  Shiloh,  ch.  18.  l,&e.  In  this  chapter,  we 
have  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  which  in  this,  as  in 
other  things,  had  the  precedency;  I.  The  borders  or 
bounds  of  the  inheritance  of  Judah,  v.  1.  .12.  II.  The 
particular  assignment  of  Hebron  and  the  country  there¬ 
about  to  Caleb  and  his  family,  v.  13..  19.  III.  The 
names  of  the  several  cities  that  fell  within  Judah’s  lot, 
v.  21 . .  63. 

l .  rpHIS  then  was  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  the 
Jl  children  of  Judah  by  their  families, 
even  to  the  border  of  Edom ;  the  wilderness  of 
Zin  southward  was  the  uttermost  part  of  the 
*;out.h  coast.  2.  And  their  south  border  was 
from  the  shore  of  the  salt  sea,  from  the  bay 
that  looketh  southward  :  3.  And  it  went  out 
to  tin1  south  side  to  Maaleh-acrabbim,  and 
passed  along  to  Zin,  and  ascended  up  on  the 
south  side  unto  Kadesh-barnea  ;  and  passed 
along  to  Hezron,  and  went  up  to  Adar,  and 
fetched  a  compass  to  Karkaa:  4.  From 


thence  it  passed  toward  Azmon,  and  went 
out  unto  the  river  of  Egypt ;  and  the  goings 
out  of  that  coast  were  at  the  sea :  This  shall 
be  your  south  coast.  5.  And  the  east  bor¬ 
der  was  the  salt  sea  even  unto  the  end  of 
Jordan.  And  their  border  in  the  north 
quarter  was  from  the  bay  of  the  sea  at  the 
uttermost  part  of  Jordan:  6.  And  the  bor¬ 
der  went  up  to  Beth-hoglah,  and  passed 
along  by  the  north  of  Beth-arabah ;  and  the 
border  went  up  to  the  stone  of  Bohan  the 
son  of  Reuben  :  7.  And  the  border  went  up 
toward  Debir  from  the  valley  of  Achor,  and 
so  northward,  looking  toward  Gilgal,  that  is 
before  the  going  up  to  Adummim,  which  is 
on  the  south  side  of  the  river :  and  the  bor¬ 
der  passed  toward  the  waters  of  En-she- 
mesh,  and  the  goings  out  thereof  were  at 
En-rogel :  8.  And  the  border  went  up  by  the 
valley  of  the  son  of  Hinnom  unto  the  south 
side  of  the  Jebusite  ;  the  same  is  Jerusalem  : 
and  the  border  went  up  to  the  top  of  the 
mountain  that  lieth  before  the  valley  of 
Hinnom  westward,  which  is  at  the  end  of 
the  valley  of  the  giants  northward  :  9.  And 
the  border  was  drawn  from  the  top  of  the 
hill  unto  the  fountain  of  the  water  of  Neph- 
toah,  and  went  out  to  the  cities  of  mount 
Ephron;  and  the  border  w  as  drawn  to  Baa- 
lah,  wdiich  is  Kirjath-jearim :  10.  And  the 
border  compassed  from  Baalah  westward 
unto  mount  Seir,  and  passed  along  unto  the 
side  of  mount  Jearim,  which  is  Chesalon, 
on  the  north  side,  and  went  down  to  Beth- 
shemesh,  and  passed  on  to  Timnah :  11. 

And  the  border  went  out  unto  the  side  of 
Ekron  northward:  and  the  border  was 
drawn  to  Shicron,  and  passed  along  to 
mount  Baalah,  and  went  out  unto  Jabneel; 
and  the  goings  out  of  the  border  were  at  the 
sea:  12.  Wild  the  west  border  teas  to  the 
great  sea,  and  the  coast  thereof.  This  is  the 
coast  of  the  children  of  Judah  round  about, 
according  to  their  families. 

Judah  and  Joseph  were  the  two  sons  of  Jacob,  on 
whom  Reuben’s  forfeited  birthright  devolved.  Ju¬ 
dah  had  the  dominion  entailed  on  him,  and  Joseph 
the  double  portion,  ar,d  therefore  these  two  tribes 
were  first  seated;  Judah  in  the  southern  pavtcf  the 
land  of  Canaan,  and  Joseph  in  the  northern  part,  and 
on  them  the  other  seven  did  attend,  and  had  their 
respective  lots  as  appurtenances  to  these  two;  the 
lots  of  Benjamin,  Simeon,  and  Dan,  were  appendant 
to  Judah,  and  those  of  Issachar  and  Zebulon,  Naph- 
tali  and  Asher,  to  Joseph.  These  two  were  first  set 
up  to  be  provided  for,  it  should  seem,  before  there 
was  such  an  exact  survey  of  the  land  as  *we  find  af¬ 
terward,  ch.  18.  9.  It  is  probable  that  the  most 
considerable  parts  of  the  northern  and  southern 
countries,  and  those  that  lay  nearest  to  Gilgal,  and 
which  the  people  were  best  acquainted  with,  were 
first  put  into  two  portions,  and  the  lot  was  cast  upon 
them  between  these  two  principal  tribes,  of  the  one 
of  which  Joshua  was,  and  of  the  other  Caleb,  whe 


JOSHUA,  XV. 


was  the  first  commissioner  in  this  writ  of  partition; 
and  by  the  decision  of  that  lot,  the  southern  country 
fell  to  Judah,  and  which  we  have  an  account  of  in 
this  chapter,  and  the  northern  to  Joseph,  of  which 
we  have  an  account  in  the  two  following  chapters. 
And  when  this  was  done,  there  was  a  more  equal 
dividend  (either  in  quantity  or  quality)  of  the  re¬ 
mainder  among  the  seven  tribes.  And  this,  proba¬ 
bly,  was  intended  in  that  general  rale  which  was 
given  concerning  this  partition,  Numb.  33.  54,  to  the 
more  ye  shall  give  the  more  inheritance,  and  to  the 
fewer  ye  shall  give  the  less,  and  every  man's  inheri¬ 
tance  shall  be  where  his  lot  falleth,  that  is,  “  Ye  shall 
appoint  two  greater  portions  which  shall  be  deter¬ 
mined  by  lot  to  those  more  numerous  tribes  of  Ju¬ 
dah  and  Joseph,  and  then  the  rest  shall  be  lesser 
portions  to  be  allotted  to  the  less  numerous  tribes.  ” 
The  former  was  done  in  Gilgal,  the  latter  in  Shiloh. 

In  these  verses  we  have  the  borders  of  the  lot  of 
Judah,  which  as  the  rest,  is  said  to  be  by  their  fami¬ 
lies,  that  is,  with  an  eye  to  the  number  of  their  fa¬ 
milies.  And  it  intimates  that  Joshua  and  Eleazar, 
and  the  rest  of  the  commissioners,  when  they  had 
by  lot  given  each  tribe  its  portion,  did  afterward  (it 
is  probable  by  lot  likewise)  subdivide  those  larger 
portions,  and  assign  to  each  family  its  inheritance, 
and  then  to  each  household,  which  would  be  better 
done  by  this  supreme  authority,  and  be  apt  to  give 
less  disgust,  than  if  it  had  been  left  to  the  inferior 
magistrates  of  each  tribe  to  make  that  distribution. 
The  borders  of  this  tribe  are  here  largely  fixed, 
yet  not  unalterably,  for  a  good  deal  of  that  which 
lies  within  these  bounds  was  afterward  assigned  to 
the  lots  of  Simeon  and  Dan. 

1.  The  eastern  border  was  all,  and  only,  the  salt 
sea,  v.  5.  Every  sea  is  salt,  but  this  was  of  an  ex¬ 
traordinary  and  more  than  natural  saltness,  the  ef¬ 
fects  of  that  fire  and  brimstone  with  which  Sodom 
and  Gomorrah  were  destroyed  in  Abraham’s  time, 
whose  ruins  lie  buried  in  the  bottom  of  this  dead 
water,  which  never  either  was  moved  itself,  or  had 
any  living  thing  in  it. 

2.  The  southern  border  was  that  of  the  land  of 
Canaan  in  general  as  will  appear  by  comparing  v. 
1**4.  with  Numb.  34.  3- *5.  So  that  this  power¬ 
ful  and  warlike  tribe  of  Judah  guarded  the  frontiers 
of  the  whole  land,  on  that  side  which  lay  toward 
their  old  sworn  enemies,  (though  their  two  fathers 
were  twin-brethren,)  the  Edomites.  Our  Lord 
therefore,  who  sprang  out  of  Judah,  and  whose 
the  kingdom  is,  shall  judge  the  mount  of  Esau, 
Obad.  21. 

3.  The  northern  border  divided  it  from  the  lot 
of  Benjamin.  In  this,  mention  is  made  of  the  stone 
of  Bohan  a  Reubenite,  v.  6.  who,  probably,  was  a 
great  commander  of  those  forces  of  Reuben  that 
came  over  Jordan,  and  died  in  the  camp  at  Gilgal, 
and  was  buried  not  far  off  under  this  stone.  The 
valley  of  Achor  likewise  lies  under  this  border,  v.  7. 
to  remind  the  men  of  Judah  of  the  trouble  which 
Achan,  one  of  their  tribe,  gave  to  the  congregation  of 
Israel,  that  they  might  not  be  too  much  lifted  up  with 
their  services.  This  northern  line  touched  close  upon 
Jerusalem,  v.  8.  so  close  as  to  include  in  the  lot  of 
this  tribe,  mount  Zion  and  mount  Moriah,  though 
the  greater  part  of  the  city  lay  in  the  lot  of  Ben¬ 
jamin. 

4.  The  west  border  went  near  to  the  great  sea  at 
first,  v.  12.  but  afterward  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Dan 
took  off  a  good  part  of  Judah’s  lot  on  that  side;  for 
the  lot  was  only  to  determine  between  Judah  and 
Joseph,  which  should  have  the  north,  and  which 
die  south,  and  not  immoveably  to  fix  the  border  of 
either. 

Judah’s  inhertarce  had  its  boundaries  determin¬ 
ed;  though  it  w  s  a  powerful  warlike  tribe,  and  had 
a  great  interest  in  the  other  tribes,  yet  they  must 


not  therefore  be  left  to  their  own  choice,  to  enlarge 
their  possessions  at  pleasure,  but  must  li\  e  so  as 
that  their  neighbours  might  live  by  them.  Those 
that  are  placed  high,  yet  must  not  think  to  be 
placed  alone  in  the  midst  of  the  earth. 

13.  And  unto  Caleb  the  son  of  Jephun 
neh  he  gave  a  part  among  the  children  of 
Judah,  according  to  the  commandment  of 
the  Lord  to  Joshua,  even  the  city  of  Arba 
the  father  of  Anak,  which  city  is  Hebron. 
14.  And  Caleb  drove  thence  the  three  sons 
of  Anak,  Sheshai,  and  Ahiman,  and  Talnrai. 
the  children  of  Anak.  15.  And  he  went  up 
thence  to  the  inhabitants  of  Debir:  and  the 
name  of  Debir  before  teas  Kirjath-sepher. 
16.  And  Caleb  said,  He  that  smiteth  Kir¬ 
jath-sepher,  and  taketh  it,  to  him  will  1  give 
Achsali  my  daughter  to  wife.  17.  And 
Othniel  the  son  of  Kenaz,  the  brother  of  Ca 
leb,  took  it:  and  he  gave  him  Achsah  his 
daughter  to  wife.  18.  And  it  came  to  pass, 
as  she  came  vnto  him ,  that  she  moved  him  to 
ask  of  her  father  a  field  :  and  she  lighted  off 
her  ass;  and  Caleb  said  unto  her,  What 
wouldest  thou?  19.  Who  answered,  Give 
me  a  blessing;  for  thou  hast  given  me  a 
south  land;  give  me  also  springs  of  water. 
And  he  gave  her  the  upper  springs,  and  the 
nether  springs. 

The  historian  seems  pleased  with  every  occasion 
to  make  mention  of  Caleb,  and  to  do  him  honour, 
because  he  had  honoured  God  in  following  him  full  v. 
The  grant  Joshua  made  him  of  the  mountain  of  He¬ 
bron  for  his  inheritance  is  here  repeated,  v.  13. 
And  it  is  said  to  be  given  him,  1.  According  to  the 
command  of  the  Lord  to  Joshua.  Though  Caleb,  in 
his  petition,  had  made  out  a  very  good  title  to  it  by 
promise,  yet  because  God  had  ordered  Joshua  to  di¬ 
vide  the  land  by  lot,  he  would  not  in  this  one  single 
instance,  no  not  to  gratify  his  old  friend  Caleb,  do 
otherwise,  without  orders  from  God,  whose  oracle, 
it  is  probable,  he  consulted  upon  this  occasion.  In 
every  doubtful  case  it  is  very  desirable  to  know  the 
mind  of  God,  and  to  see  the  way  of  our  duty  plain. 
2.  It  is  said  to  be  a  part  among  the  children  of  Ju¬ 
dah;  though  it  was  assigned  him  before  the  lot  of 
the  tribe  came  up,  yet  it  proved,  God  so  directing 
the  lot,  to  be  in  the  heart  of  that  tribe,  which  was 
graciously  ordered  in  kindness  to  him,  that  he 
might  not  be  as  one  separated  from  his  brethren, 
and  surrounded  by  those  of  other  tribes. 

Now  Caleb  having  obtained  this  grant,  we  are 
told, 

I.  How  he  signalized-  his  own  valour  in  the  con- 
j  quest  of  Hebron,  v.  14.  He  drove  thence  the  three 
sons  of  Anak;  he  and  those  that  he  engaged  to  ass;st 
him  in  this  service.  This  is  mentioned  here,  to 
show  that  the  confidence  he  had  expressed  of  suc¬ 
cess  in  this  affair  through  the  presence  of  God  with 
;  him,  ch.  14.  12.  did  not  deceive  him,  but  the  event 
answered  his  expectation.  It  is  not  said  that  he  slew 
!  these  giants,  but  he  drove  them  thence,  which  inti- 
j  mates  that  they  retired  upon  his  approach,  and  fled 
|  before  him;  the  strength  and  stature  of  their  bodies 
!  could  not  keep  up  the  courage  of  their  minds,  but, 

I  with  the  countenances  of  lions,  thev  had  the  hearts 
I  of  trembling  hares.  Thus  does  God  often  cut  off 
the  spirit  of  princes,  Ps.  76,  12.  take  awav  the  heart 
|  of  the  chief  of  the  people.  Job  12,  24.  and  so  shame 


72 


JOSHUA,  XV. 


tne  confidence  of  the  proud;  and  thus  if  we  resist 
the  devil,  that  roaring  lion,  though  he  fall  not,  yet 
he  will  flee. 

II.  How  he  encouraged  the  valour  of  those  about 
him  in  the  conquest  of  Debir,  v.  15,  itfc.  It  seems, 
tnough  Joshua  had  once  made  himself  master  of 
bebir,  c/i.  10.  39.  yet  the  Canaanites  had  regained 
ti.e  possession  in  the  absence  of  the  army,  so  that  the 
work  was  to  be  done  a  second  time ;  and  when  Caleb 
had  completed  the  reduction  of  Hebron,  which  was 
for  himself  and  his  own  family,  to  show  his  zeal  for 
the  public  good,  as  much  as  for  his  own  private  in¬ 
terest,  he  pushes  on  his  conquest  to  Debir,  and  will 
not  lay  down  his  arms  till  he  sees  that  city  also  ef¬ 
fectually  reduced,  which  lay  but  ten  miles  south¬ 
ward  from  Hebron,  though  he  had  not  any  particu¬ 
lar  concern  in  it,  but  the  reducing  of  it  would  be  to 
the  general  advantage  of  his  tribe.  Let  us  learn 
hence,  not  to  seek  and  mind  our  own  things  only, 
but  to  concern  and  engage  ourselves  for  the  welfare 
of  the  community  we  are  members  of;  we  are  not 
born  for  ourselves,  nor  must  we  live  to  ourselves. 

1.  Notice  is  taken  of  the  name  of  this  city.  It 
had  been  called  Kirjath-sefiher,  the  city  of  a  book, 
and  Kirjath-sanha,  v.  40.  which  some  translate 
the  city  of  learning;  so  the  LXX.  IIsxk  ypa/u/udruv, 
whence  some  conjecture  that  it  had  been  an  uni¬ 
versity  among  the  Canaanites,  like  Athens  in 
Greece,  in  which  their  youth  were  educated;  or 
perhaps  the  books  of  their  chronicles  or  records  on 
the  antiquities  of  the  nation,  were  laid  up  there; 
and,  it  may  be,  this  was  it  that  made  Caleb  so  de¬ 
sirous  to  see  Israel  master  of  this  city,  that  they 
might  get  acquainted  with  the  ancient  learning  of 
the  Canaanites. 

2.  The  proffer  that  Caleb  made  of  his  daughter, 
and  a  good  portion  with  her,  to  any  one  that  would 
undert  ike  to  reduce  that  city,  and  to  command  the 
forces  that  should  be  employed  in  that  service,  v. 
15.  Thus  S  ml  promised  a  daughter  to  him  that 
would  kill  Goliath,  1  Sam.  17.  25.  neither  of  them 
intending  to  force  their  daughter  to  marry  such  as 
they  could  not  love,  but  both  of  them  presuming 
upon  their  daughter’s  obedience,  and  submission  to 
their  father’s  will  though  it  might  perhaps  be  con¬ 
trary  to  their  own  humour  or  inclination.  Caleb’s 
family  was  not  only  honourable  and  wealthy,  but 
religious;  he  that  himself  followed  the  Lord  fully, 
no  doubt,  t  night  his  children  to  do  so,  and  therefore 
it  could  not  bat  be  a  desirable  match  to  any  young 
gentleman.  Caleb,  in  making  the  proposal,  aims, 
(1.)  To  do  service  to  his  country  by  the  reducing 
of  that  important  place:  And,  (2.)  To  marry  a 
daughter  well,  to  a  man  of  learning,  that  would 
have  a  particular  affection  for  the  city  of  books,  and 
a  man  of  war,  that  would  Oe  likely  to  serve  his 
country  and  do  worthily  in  his  generation.  Could 
he  but  marry  his  child  to  a  man  of  such  a  charac¬ 
ter,  he  would  think  her  well  bestowed,  whether 
the  share  in  the  lot  of  his  tribe  were  more  or  less. 

3.  The  place  w  is  bravely  taken  by  Othniel,  a 
nephew  of  Caleb’s,  whom,  probably,  Caleb  had 
thoughts  of  when  he  made  the  proffer,  v.  17.  This 
Othnigl,  who  thus  signalized  himself  when  he  was 
young,  long  after,  in  his  advanced  years,  was  led 
by  the  Spirit  to  be  both  a  deliverer  and  a  judge  in 
Israel,  the  first  single  person  that  presided  in  their 
affairs  after  Joshua’s  death;  it  is  good  for  those  who 
are  setting  out  in  the  world,  to  begin  betimes  with 
that  which  is  great  and  good;  that,  excelling  in 
service  when  they  are  young,  they  may  excel  in 
honour  when  they  grow  old. 

4.  Hereupon  (all  parties  being  agreed)  Othniel 
married  his  cousin-german,  Achsali,  Caleb’s  daugh¬ 
ter.  It  is. probable  that  he  had  a  kindness  for  her 
before,  which  put  him  upon  this  bold  undertaking 
m  obtain  her.  Love  to  his  country,  an  ambition  of 


honour,  and  a  desire  to  find  favour  with  the  princes 
of  his  people,  might  not  have  engaged  him  in  this 
great  action,  but  his  affection  for  Achsah  did,  that 
made  it  intolerable  to  him  to  think  that  any  one 
else  should  do  more  to  win  her  favour  than  he 
would,  and  so  inspired  him  with  this  generous  fire. 
Thus  is  love  strong  as  death,  and  jealousy  cruel  as 
the  grave. 

5.  Because  the  historian  is  now  upon  the  dividing 
of  the  land,  he  gives  us  an  account  of  Achsah ’s 
portion,  which  was  in  land,  as  more  valuable,  be¬ 
cause  enjoyed  by  virtue  of  the  divine  promise, 
though  we  may  suppose  the  conquerors  of  Canaan, 
who  had  had  the  spoil  of  so  many  rich  cities,  were 
full  of  money  too.  (1.)  Some  land  she  obtained  by 
Caleb’s  free  grant,  which  was  allowed  while  she 
married  within  her  own  tribe  and  family,  as  Zelo- 
phehad’s  daughter  did.  He  gave  her  a  south  land, 
v.  19.  Land  indeed,  but  a  south  land,  dry,  and 
apt  to  be  parched.  (2. )  She  obtained  more  upon 
her  request;  she  would  have  had  her  husband  to 
ask  for  a  field,  probably,  some  particular  field,  or 
champaign  ground,  which  belonged  to  Caleb’s 
lot,  and  joined  to  that  south  land  which  he  had 
settled  upon  his  daughter  at  marriage.  She  thought 
her  husband  had  the  best  interest  in  her  father, 
who,  no  doubt,  was  extremely  pleased  with  his  late 
glorious  achievement,  but  he  thought  it  was  more 
proper  for  her  to  ask,  and  she  would  be  more 
likely  to  prevail;  accordingly  she  did,  submitting  to 
her  husband’s  judgment,  though  contrary  to  her 
own;  and  she  managed  the  undertaking  with  great 
address.  [1.]  She  took  the  opportunity  when  her 
father  brought  her  home  to  the  house  of  her  hus¬ 
band,  when  the  satisfaction  of  having  disposed  of 
his  daughter  so  well,  would  make  him  think  nothing 
too  much  to  do  for  her.  [2.]  She  lighted  off  her 
ass,  in  token  of  respect  and  reverence  to  her  fath¬ 
er,  whom  she  would  honour  still,  as  much  as  before 
her  marriage.  She  cried  or  sighed,  from  off  her  ass, 
so  the  LXX.  and  the  vulgar  Latin  read  it,  she  ex¬ 
pressed  some  grief  and  concern,  that  she  might 
give  her  father  occasion  to  ask  her  what  she  want¬ 
ed.  [3.]  She  calls  it  a  blessing,  because  it  would 
add  much  to  the  comfort  of  her  settlement;  and 
she  was  sure,  that  since  she  married,  not  only  with 
her  father’s  consent,  but  in  obedience  to  his  com¬ 
mand,  he  would  not  deny  her  his  blessing.  [4.  ] 
She  asks  only  for  the  mater,  without  which  the 
ground  she  had  would  be  of  little  use,  either  for 
tillage  or  pasture,  but  she  means  the  field  in  which 
the  springs  of  water  were;  the  modesty  and  rea¬ 
sonableness  of  her  request  gave  it  a  great  advan¬ 
tage.  Earth  without  water  would  be  like  a  tree 
without  sap,  or  the  body  of  an  animal  without  blood; 
therefore  when  God  gathered  the  waters  into  one 
place,  he  wisely  and  graciously  left  some  in  every 
place,  that  the  earth  might  be  enriched  for  the 
service  of  man.  See  Ps.  104.  10,  &c.  Well, 
Achsah  gained  her  point,  her  father  gave  her  what 
she  asked,  and  perhaps  more,  for  he  gave  her  the 
u/i/ter  springs  and  the  nether  springs.  Two  fields, 
so  called  from  the  springs  that  were  in  them;  as  we 
commonly  distinguish  between  the  higher  field  and 
the  lower  field.  Those  who  understand  it  but  of 
one  field,  watered  both  with  the  rain  of  heaven  and 
the  springs  that  issued  out  of  the  bowels  of  the 
earth,  gave  countenance  to  the  allusion  we  com¬ 
monly  make  to  this,  when  we  pray  for  spiritual  and 
heavenly  blessings  which  relate  to  our  souls,  as 
blessings  of  the  upper  springs,  and  those  which  re¬ 
late  to  the  body  and  the  life  that  now  is,  as  bless 
ings  of  the  nether  springs. 

From  this  story,  we  learn,  First,  That  it  is  no 
breach  of  the  tenth  commandment,  moderately  to 
desire  those  comforts  and  conveniences  of  this  life, 
which  we  see  attainable  in  a  fair  and  regular  way. 


73 


JOSHUA,  XV. 


Secondly,  That  husbands  and  wives  should  mutually 
advise,  and  jointly  agree  about  that  which  is  for  the 
common  good  of  their  family;  and  much  more 
should  they  concur  in  asking  of  their  heavenly 
Father  the  best  blessings,  those  of  the  ufifier 
springs.  Thirdly ,  That  parents  must  never  think 
that  lost,  which  is  bestowed  upon  their  children  for 
their  real  advantage,  but  must  be  free  in  giving 
them  portions  as  well  as  maintenance,  especially 
when  they  are  dutiful.  Caleb  had  sons,  1  Chron. 
4.  15.  and  yet  gave  thus  liberally  to  his  daughter. 
Those  parents  forget  themselves  and  their  rela¬ 
tions,  who  grudge  their  children  what  is  convenient 
for  them,  when  they  can  conveniently  part  with  it. 

20.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the  tribe 
of  the  children  of  Judah  according  to  their 
families.  21.  And  the  uttermost  cities  of 
the  tribe  of  the  children  of  Judah,  toward 
the  coast  of  Edom  southward,  were  Kab- 
zeel,  and  Eder,  and  Jagur,  22.  And  Kinah, 
and  Dimonah,  and  Adadah,  23.  And  Ke- 
desh,  and  Hazor,  and  Ithnan,  24.  Ziph, 
and  Telem,  and  Bealoth,  25.  And  Hazor, 
Hadattah,  and  Kerioth,  and  Hezron,  which 
is  Hazor,  26.  Amam,  and  Shema,  and 
Moladah,  27.  And  Hazar-gaddah,  and 
Heshmon,  and  Beth-palet,  28.  And  Hazar- 
shual,  and  Beer-sheba,  and  Bizjothjah,  29. 
Baalah,  and  Iim,  and  Azem,  30.  And 
Eltolad,  and  Cliesil,  and  Hormah,  31. 
And  Ziklag,  and  Madmannah,  and  San- 
sannah,  32.  And  Lebaoth,  and  Shilhim, 
and  Ain,  and  Rimmon :  all  the  cities  are 
twenty  and  nine,  with  their  villages :  33. 

And  in  the  valley,  Eshtaol,  and  Zoreah, 
and  Ashnah,  34.  And  Zanoah,  and  En- 
gannim,  Tappuah,  and  Enam,  35.  Jar- 
muth,  and  Adullam,  Socoh,  and  Azekah, 
36.  And  Sharaim,  and  Adithaim,  and  Ge- 
derah,  and  Gederothaim ;  fourteen  cities 
with  their  villages :  37.  Zenan,  and  Ha- 
dashah,  and  Migdal-gad,  38.  And  Dilean, 
and  Mizpeh,  and  Joktheel,  39.  Lachish, 
and  Bozkath,  and  Eglon,  40.  And  Cab- 
bon,  and  Lahmam,  and  Kithlish,  41.  And 
Gederolh,  Beth-dagon,  and  Naamah,  and 
Makkedah ;  sixteen  cities  with  their  vil¬ 
lages:  42.  Libnah,and  Ether,  and  Ashan, 

43.  And  Jiphtah,  and  Ashnah,  and  Nezib, 

44.  And  Keilah,  and  Achzib,  and  Ma- 

reshah  ;  nine  cities  with  their  villages.  45. 
Ekron  with  her  towns  and  her  villages: 
46.  From  Ekron  even  unto  the  sea,  all  that 
lay  near  Ashdod,  with  their  villages  :  47. 

Ashdod  with  her  towns  and  her  villages, 
Gaza  with  her  towns  and  her  villages,  unto 
the  river  of  Egypt,  and  the  great  sea,  and 
the  border  thereof:  48.  And  in  the  moun¬ 
tains,  Shamir,  and  Jattir,  and  Socoh,  49. 
And  Dannah,  and  Kirjath-sannah,  which 
is  Debir,  50.  And  Anab,  and  Eshtemoh, 
and  Anim,  51.  And  Goshen,  and  Holon, 

Yol.  ii. — K 


and  Giloh ;  eleven  cities  with  their  villages : 
52.  Arab,  and  Dumah,  and  Eshean,  53. 
And  Janum,  and  Beth-tappuah,  and  Aphe- 
kah,  54.  And  Humtah,  and  Kirjath-arba 
(which  is  Hebron,)  and  Zior ;  nine  cities 
with  their  villages:  55.  Maon,  Carmel, 
and  Ziph,  and  Juttah,  56.  And  Jezreel, 
and  Jokdeam,  and  Zanoah,  57.  Cain, 
Gibeah,  and  Timnah ;  ten  cities  with  their 
villages  :  58.  Halhul,  Beth-zur,  and  Gedor, 
59.  And  Maarath,  and  Beth-anoth,  and 
Eltekon  ;  six  cities  with  their  villages :  60. 

Kirjath-baal  (which  is  Kirjath-jearim,)  and 
Rabbah ;  two  cities  with  their  villages :  61. 
In  the  wilderness,  Beth-arabah,  Middin, 
and  Secacah,  62.  And  Nibshan,  and  the 
city  of  Salt,  and  En-gedi ;  six  cities  with 
their  villages.  63.  As  for  the  Jebusites,  the 
inhabitants  of  Jerusalem,  the  children  of 
Judah  could  not  drive  them  out:  but  the 
Jebusites  dwell  with  the  children  of  Judah 
at  Jerusalem  unto  this  day. 

We  have  here  a  list  rf  the  several  cities  that  fell 
within  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  which  are  men¬ 
tioned  by  name,  that  they  might  know  their  own, 
and  both  keep  it,  and  keep  to  it,  and  might,  neither 
through  cowardice  nor  sloth,  lose  the  possession  of 
what  was  their  own,  nor  through  covetousness,  seek 
the  possession  of  what  was  not  their  own.  The 
cities  are  here  named,  and  numbered  in  several 
classes,  which  they  then  could  account  for  the  rea¬ 
son  of,  better  than  we  can  now.  Here  are,  1.  Some 
that  are  said  to  be  the  uttermost  cities  toward  the 
coast  of  Eden ,  v.  21*  *32.  Here  are  thirty-eight 
named,  and  yet  said  to  be  twenty-nine,  v.  32.  be¬ 
cause  nine  cf  these  were  afterward  transferred  to 
the  lot  of  Simeon,  and  are  reckoned  as  belonging  to 
that,  as  appears  by  comparing  ch.  19.  2,  Zjfc.  there¬ 
fore  those  only  are  counted,  (though  the  rest  are 
named,)  which  remained  to  Judah.  2.  Others  that 
are  said  to  be  in  the  valley,  v.  33.  are  counted  to  be 
fourteen,  yet  fifteen  are  named;  but  it  is  probable, 
that  Gederah,  and  Gederothaim  were  either  two 
names,  or  two  parts,  of  one  and  the  same  city.  3. 
Then  sixteen  are  named  without  any  head  of  dis¬ 
tinction,  v.  37*  *41.  and  nine  mere,  42..  44.  4. 

Then  the  three  Philistine  cities,  Ekron,  Ashdod, 
and  Gaza,  v.  45..  47.  5.  Cities  in  the  mountains , 

eleven  in  all,  v.  48*  *51.  nine  more,  v.  52*  *54.  ten 
more,  v.  55* -57.  six  more,  v.  58,  59.  then  two,  v. 
CO.  and  six  in  the  wilderness,  a  part  cf  the  country 
not  so  thick  of  inhabitants  as  some  others  were. 

Now  here,  (1.)  We  do  not  find  Bethlehem, 
which  was  afterward  the  city  cf  David,  and  was 
ennobled  by  the  birth  of  our  Lord  Jesus  in  it.  But 
that  city,  which  at  the  best  was  but  little  among  the 
thousands  of  Judah,  Mic.  5.  2.  except  that  it  was 
thus  dignified,  was  now  so  little  as  not  to  be  ac¬ 
counted  one  of  the  cities,  but  perhaps  was  one  of 
the  villages  not  named.  Christ  came  to  give 
honour  to  the  places  he  was  related  to,  not  to  re¬ 
ceive  honour  from  them.  (2.)  Jerusalem  is  said  to 
continue  in  the  hands  of  the  Jebusites,  v.  63,  for 
the  children  of  Judah  could  not  drive  them  out, 
through  their  sluggishness,  stupidity  and  unbelief; 
had  they  attempted  it  with  vigour  and  resolution, 
we  have  reason  to  think  God  would  not  have  been 
wanting  to  them,  to  give  them  success;  but  they 
could  not  do  it,  because  they  would  not.  Jerusalem 
was  afterward  to  be  the  holy  city,  the  royal  city, 


74 


JOSHUA,  AVI 


the  city  of  the  great  King,  the  brightest  ornament 
of  all  the  land  of  Israel,  God  had  designed  it  should 
be  so.  It  may  therefore  be  justly  looked  upon  as  a 
punishment  of  their  neglect  to  conquer  other  cities 
which  God  had  given  them,  that  they  were  so  long 
kept  out  of  this. 

Among  the  cities  of  Judah  (in  all  one  hundred 
and  fourteen)  we  meet  with  Libnah,  which  in  Jo- 
ram’s  days  revolted,  and  probably  set  up  for  a  free 
independent  state,  2  Kings  8.  22.  and  Lachish, 
where  king  Amaziah  was  slain,  2  Kings  14.  19.  it 
led  the  dance  in  idolatry,  Mic.  1.  13.  it  was  the  be¬ 
ginning  of  sin  to  the  daughter  of  Sion.  Giloh, 
Ahitophei’s  town,  is  here  mentioned,  and  Tekoa, 
of  which  the  prophet  Amos  was,  and  near  which 
Jehoshaphat  obtained  that  glorious  victory,  2 
Chron.  20.  20,  Itfc.  and  Maresha,  where  Asa  was 
a  conqueror.  Many  of  the  cities  of  this  tribe  occur 
in  the  history  of  David’s  troubles.  Adullam,  Ziph, 
Kellah,  Maon,  En-gedi,  Ziklag,  were  places  here 
reckoned  in  this  tribe,  near  which  David  had  most 
of  his  haunts;  for  though  sometimes  Saul  drove 
him  out  from  the  inheritance  of  the  Lord,  yet  he 
kept  as  close  to  it  as  he  could.  The  wilderness  of 
Judah  he  frequented  much,  and  in  it  John  Baptist 
preached,  and  there  the  kingdom  of  heaven  com¬ 
menced,  Matt.  3.  1.  The  riches  of  this  country, 
no  doubt,  answered  Jacob’s  blessing  of  this  tribe, 
that  he  should  wash  his  garments  in  wine,  Gen.  49. 
11.  And  in  general,  Judah,  thou  art  he  whom  thy 
brethren  should  praise,  not  envy. 

CHAP.  XVI. 

It  is  a  pity  that  this  and  the  following  chapter  should  be 
separated,  for  both  of  them  give  us  the  lot  of  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Joseph,  Ephraim  and  Manasseh,  who,  next  to 
Judah,  were  to  have  the  post  of  honour,  and  there¬ 
fore  had  the  first  and  best  portion  in  the  northern 
part  of  Canaan,  as  Judah  now  had  in  the  southern  part, 
in  this  chapter,  we  have,  I.  A  general  account  of  the  lot 
of  these  two  tribes  together,  v.  1..4.  II.  The  borders 
of  the  lot  of  Ephraim  in  particular,  v.  5. .  10.  That  of 
Manasseh  following  in  the  next  chapter. 

1.  4  NO  the  lot  of  the  children  of  Joseph 
f\  fell  from  Jordan  by  Jericho,  unto  the 
water  of  Jericho  on  the  east,  to  the  wilder¬ 
ness  that  goeth  up  from  Jericho  throughout 
mount  Beth-el,  2.  And  goeth  out  from 
Beth-el  to  Luz,  and  passeth  along  unto  the 
borders  of  Archi  to  Ataroth,  3.  And  goeth 
down  westward  to  the  coast  of  Japhleti, 
unto  the  coast  of  Beth-horon  the  nether,  and 
to  Gezer :  and  the  goings  out  thereof  are  at 
the  sea.  4.  So  the  children  of  Joseph, 
Manasseh  and  Ephraim,  took  their  inherit¬ 
ance. 

Though  Joseph  was  one  of  the  younger  sons  of 
Jacob,  yet  he  was  his  eldest  by  his  most  just  and  best 
beloved  wife,  Rachel;  was  himself  his  best  beloved 
son,  and  had  been  the  greatest  ornament  and  sup¬ 
port  of  his  family,  kept  it  from  perishing  in  a  time 
of  famine,  and  had  been  the  shepherd  and  stone  o  f 
Israel,  and  therefore  his  posterity  were  very  much 
favoured  by  the  lot.  Their  portion  lay  in  the  very 
heart  of  the  land  of  Canaan.  It  extended  from 
Jordan  in  the  east,  v.  1.  to  the  sea,  the  Mediterra¬ 
nean  sea,  in  the  west,  so  that  it  took  up  the  whole 
breadth  of  Canaan  from  side  to  side;  and,  no  ques¬ 
tion,  the  fruitfulness  of  the  soil  answered  the  bless¬ 
ings  both  of  Jacob  and  Moses,  Gen.  49.  25,  26. 
and  Deut.  33.  13,  itfc. 

The  portions  allotted  to  Ephraim  and  Manas  I 
sell  are  nut  so  particularly  described  as  thoso  ot  i 


||  the  other  tribes;  we  have  only  the  limits  and  boun 
daries  of  them,  not  the  particular  cities  in  them,  as 
before  we  had  of  the  cities  of  Judah,  and  after¬ 
ward  those  of  the  other  tribes.  For  which  no  rea¬ 
son  can  be  assigned,  unless  we  may  suppose  that 
Joshua,  being  himself  of  the  children  of  Joseph, 
they  referred  it  to  him  alone  to  distribute  among 
them  the  several  cities  that  lay  within  their 
lot,  and  therefore  did  not  bring  in  the  names  of 
their  cities  to  the  great  council  of  their  princes 
which  sat  upon  this  affair;  by  which  means  it  came 
to  pass  that  they  were  not  inserted  with  the  rest  in 
the  books. 

5.  And  the  border  of  the  children  of 
Ephraim,  according  to  their  families,  was 
thus;  even  the  border  of  their  inheritance 
on  the  east  side  was  Ataroth-addar,  unto 
Beth-horon  the  upper :  6.  And  the  border 

went  out  toward  the  sea  to  Michmethah,  on 
the  north  side  ;  and  the  border  went  about 
eastward  unto  Taanath-shiloh,  and  passed 
by  it  on  the  east  to  Janohah  :  7.  And  it 

went  down  from  Janohah  to  Ataroth,  and 
to  Naarath,  and  came  to  Jericho,  and  went 
out  at  Jordan.  8.  The  border  went  out 
from  Tappuah  westward  unto  the  liver  Ka- 
nah  ;  and  the  goings  out  thereof  were  at  the 
sea.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the  tribe  of 
the  children  of  Ephraim  by  their  families. 
9.  And  the  separate  cities  for  the  children 
of  Ephraim  were  among  the  inheritance  of 
the  children  of  Manasseh,  all  the  cities  with 
their  villages.  10.  And  they  drave  notout 
the  Canaanites  that  dwelt  in  Gezer ;  but  the 
Canaanites  dwell  among  the  Ephrai mites 
unto  this  day,  and  serve  under  tribute. 

Here, 

1.  The  border  of  the  lot  of  Ephraim  is  set  down, 
by  which  it  was  divided  on  the  south  from  Ben¬ 
jamin  and  Dan,  who  lay  between  it  and  Judah, 
and  on  the  north  from  Manasseh;  for  east  and 
west  it  reached  from  Jordan  to  the  great  sea.  The 
learned,  who  aim  to  be  exact  in  drawing  the  line 
according  to  the  directions  here,  find  themselves 
very  much  at  a  loss,  the  description  here  being  short 
and  intricate.  The  report  of  those  who  in  these 
latter  ages  have  travelled  those  countries,  will  not 
serve  to  clear  the  difficulties,  so  vastly  unlike  is  it 
now  to  what  it  was  then;  not  only  cities  have  been 
so  destroyed,  as  that  no  mark  or  footstep  of  them 
remains,  but  brooks  are  dried  up,  rivers  alter  their 
courses,  and  even  the  mountain  falling  cometh  to 
naught,  and  the  rock  is  removed  out  of  his  place. 
Job.  14.  18.  Unless  I  could  hope  to  solve  the 
doubts  that  arise  upon  this  draught  of  the  border  of 
Ephraim,  it  is  to  no  purpose  to  mention  them; 
no  doubt,  they  were  then  perfectly  understood,  so 
as  that  the  first  intention  of  recording  them  was  ef¬ 
fectually  answered,  which  was  to  notify  the  ancient 
landmarks,  which  posterity  must  by  no  means  re¬ 
move. 

2.  Some  separate  cities  are  sprken  of,  that  lav  not 
within  these  borders,  at  least,  not  if  the  line  were 
drawn  direct,  but  lay  within  the  let  of  Manasseh, 
v.  9.  which  might  better  be  read,  and  there  were 
separate  citiesfor  the  children  of  Ephraim,  among  the 
inheritance  of  the  children  of  Manasseh ;  because 

I  .it  proved  that  Manasseh  could  sp  ire  them,  and 
i  Ephraim  had  need  of  them,  and  it  might  be  hoped 


JOSHUA,  XVH. 


that  no  inconvenience  would  arise  from  this  mixtui'e 
of  these  two  tribes  together,  who  were  both  the 
sons  of  Joseph,  and  should  love  as  brethren.  And 
by  this  it  appears,  that  though  when  the  tribes  were 
numbered  in  the  plains  of  Moab,  Manasseh  had  got 
the  start  of  Ephraim  in  number,  for  Manasseh  was 
then  fifty-two  thousand,  and  Ephraim  but  thirty- 
two  thousand,  Numb.  26.  34,  37.  yet  by  the  time 
they  were  well  settled  in  Canaan,  the  hands  were 
crossed  again,  and  the  blessing  of  Moses  was  veri¬ 
fied,  Deut.  33.  17,  They  are  the  ten  thousands  of 
Efihraim,  and  they  are  the  thousands  of  Manasseh. 
Families  and  kingdoms  are  diminished  and  increas¬ 
ed,  increased  and  diminished  again,  as  God  pleases. 

3.  A  .brand  is  put  upon  the  Ephraimites,  that 
they  did  not  drive  out  the  Canaanites  from  Gezer, 
x1.  iO.  Either  through  carelessness  or  cowardice, 
either  for  want  of  faith  in  the  promise  of  God,  that  j 
he  would  give  them  success  if  they  would  make  a 
vigorous  effort,  or  for  want  of  zeal  for  the  command 
of  God,  which  obliged  them  utterly  to  drive  out 
the  Canaanites,  and  to  make  no  peace  with  them. 
And  though  they  hoped  to  satisfy  the  law  by  put¬ 
ting  them  under  tribute,  yet  (as  Calvin  thinks) 
that  made  the  matter  worse,  for  it  shows  that  they 
spared  them  out  of  covetousness,  that  they  might 
be  profited  by  their  labours,  and  by  dealing  with 
them  for  their  tribute  they  were  in  danger  of  being 
infected  with  their  idolatry;  yet  some  think,  when 
they  brought  them  under  tribute,  they  obliged  them 
to  renounce  their  idols,  and  to  observe  the  seven 
precepts  of  the  sons  of  Noah;  and  I  should  think  so, 
but  that  we  find  in  the  sequel  of  the  story,  that  the 
Israelites  were  so  far  from  restraining  idolatry  in 
others,  that  they  soon  fell  into  it  themselves. 

Many  famous  places  were  within  this  lot  of  the 
tribe  of  Ephraim,  though  not  mentioned  here.  In 
it  were  Ramah,  Samuel’s  city,  called  in  the  New 
Testament,  Arimathea,  of  which  Joseph  was,  that 
look  care  of  our  Saviour’s  burial,  and  Shiloh, 
where  the  tabernacle  was  first  set  up.  Tirzah,  also, 
(.he  royal  city  of  Jeroboam  and  his  successors,  and 
Deborah’s  palm-tree,  under  which  she  judged  Is¬ 
rael,  were  in  this  tribe.  Samaria,  built  by  Omri, 
after  the  burning  of  the  royal  palace  of  Tirzah,  was 
in  this  tribe,  and  was  long  the  royal  city  of  the  king¬ 
dom  of  the  ten  tribes  ;  not  far  from  it  were  She-  j 
chem,  and  the  mountains  Ebal  and  Gerizim,  and 
Svchar,  near  which  was  Jacob’s  well,  where  Christ 
talked  with  the  woman  of  Samaria.  We  read  much 
of  mount  Ephraim  in  the  story  of  the  Judges,  and  of 
a  city  called  Efihraim ,  it  is  probable  in  this  tribe, 
to  which  Christ  retired,  John  1 1.  54.  The  whole 
kingdom  of  the  ten  tribes  is  often  in  the  prophets, 
especially  in  Hosea,  called  Efihraim. 

CHAP.  XVII. 

The  half-tribe  of  Manasseh  comes  next  to  be  provided  for; 
and  here  we  have,  I.  The  families  of  that  tribe  that  were 
to  be  portioned,  v.  1..6.  II.  The  country  that  fell  to 
their  lot,  v.  7  .  .  13.  III.  The  joint  request  of  the  two 
tribes  that  descended  from  Joseph,  for  the  enlargement 
of  their  lot,  and  Joshua’s  answer  to  that  request,  v.  14 . .  , 
18. 

1 .  *T*HERE  was  also  a  lot  for  the  tribe  of 
aL  Manasseh,  for  he  was  the  first-born 
of  Joseph ;  to  wit ,  for  Machir  the  first-born 
of  Manasseh,  the  father  of  Gilead  ;  because 
he  was  a  man  of  war,  therefore  he  had  Gi¬ 
lead  and  Bashan.  2.  There  was  also  a 
Jot  for  the  rest  of  the  children  of  Manas¬ 
seh  by  their  families ;  for  the  children  of 
Abiezer,  and  for  the  children  of  Helek,and 
for  the  children  of  Asriel,  and  for  the  chil- 


75 

dren  of  Shechem,  and  for  the  children  of 
Hepher,  and  for  the  children  of  Shemida: 
these  were  the  male  children  of  Ma¬ 
nasseh  the  son  of  Joseph  by  their  fa¬ 
milies.  3.  But  Zelophehad,  the  son  of 
Hepher,  the  son  of  Gilead,  the  son  of 
Machir,  the  son  of  Manasseh,  had  no  sons, 
but  daughters :  and  these  are  the  names  of 
his  daughters,  Mahlah,  and  Noah,  Hoglah,_ 
Milcah,  and  Tirzah.  4.  And  they  came 
near  before  Eleazar  the  priest,  and  before 
Joshua  the  son  of  Nun,  and  before  the  prin¬ 
ces,  saying,  The  Lord  commanded  Moses 
to  give  us  an  inheritance  among  our  breth¬ 
ren.  Therefore,  according  to  the  com¬ 
mandment  of  the  Lord,  he  gave  them  an 
inheritance  among  the  brethren  of  their  fa¬ 
ther.  5.  And  there  fell  ten  portions  to  Ma¬ 
nasseh,  beside  the  land  of  Gilead  and  Ba¬ 
shan,  which  were  on  the  other  side  Jordan  ; 
6.  Because  the  daughters  of  Manasseh  had 
an  inheritance  among  his  sons :  and  the 
rest  of  Manasseh’s  sons  had  the  land  of 
Gilead. 

Manasseh  was  itself  but  one  half  of  the  tribe  of 
Joseph,  and  yet  was  divided  and  subdivided. 

1.  It  was  divided  into  two  parts,  one  already  set¬ 
tled  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  consisting  of  those 
who  were  the  posterity  of  Machir,  v.  1.  This  Ma¬ 
chir  was  born  to  Manasseh  in  Egypt,  there  he 
had  signalized  himself  as  a  man  of  war,  probably, 
in  the  contest  between  the  Ephraimites  and  the 
men  of  Gath,  1  Chron.  7.  21.  His  warlike  disposi¬ 
tion  descended  to  his  posterity,  and  therefore  Moses 
gave  them  Gilead  and  Bashan,  on  the  other  side 
Jordan,  of  which  before,  ch.  13.  31.  It  is  here  said, 
that  the  lot  came  to  Manasseh,  for  he  was  the  first¬ 
born  of  Joseph.  Bishop  Patrick  thinks  it  should  be 
translated,  though  he  was  the  first-born  of  Joseph, 
and  then  the  meaning  is  plain,  that  the  second  lot 
was  for  Manasseh,  because,  though  he  was  the 
first-born,  yet  Jacob  had  preferred  Ephraim  be¬ 
fore  him.  See  the  names  of  those  heads  of  the  fa¬ 
milies  that  settled  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  1 
Chron.  5.  24. 

2.  That  part  on  this  side  Jordan  was  subdivided 
into  ten  families,  v.  5.  There  were  six  sons  of 
Gilead  here  named,  v.  2.  the  same  that  are  record¬ 
ed,  Numb.  26.  30.  32.  only  that  he  who  is  there 
called  Jeezer,  is  here  called"  Abiezer;  five  of  these 
sons  had  each  of  them  a  portion,  the  sixth,  which 
was  Hepher,  had  his  male  line  cut  off  in  his  son 
Zelophehad,  who  left  daughters  only,  five  in  num¬ 
ber,  of  whom  we  have  often  read,  and  these  five 
had  each  of  them  a  portion;  though  perhaps  they 
claiming  under  Hepher,  all  the'r  five  portions  were 
but  equal  to  one  of  the  portions  of  the  five  sons.  Or  if 
Hepher  had  other  sons  beside  Zelophehad,  in  whom 
the  name  of  his  family  was  kept  up,  their  posterity 
married  to  the  daughters  of  Zelophehad  the  elder 
brother,  and  in  their  right  had  these  portions  as¬ 
signed  them.  See  Numb.  36.  12. 

Here  is,  (1.)  The  claim  which  the  daughters  of 
Zelophehad  made,  grounded  upon  the  commands 
God  gave  to  Moses  concerning  them,  v.  4.  They 
had  themselves,  when  they  were  young,  pleaded 
their  own  cause  before  Moses,  and  obtained  the 
grant  of  an  inheritance  with  their  brethren,  and 
now  they  would  not  lose  the  benefit  of  th_t  grant 


76 


JOSHUA,  XVII. 


tor  want  of  speaking  to  Joshua,  but  seasonable 
put  in  their  demand  themselves,  as  it  should  seem, 
and  not  their  husbands  for  them.  (2.)  The  assign¬ 
ment  of  their  portions  according  to  their  claim  ; 
Joshua  knew  very  well  what  God  had  ordered  in 
their  case,  and  did  not  object,  that  they  having  net 
served  in  the  wars  of  Canaan,  there  was  no  reason 
why  they  should  share  in  the  possessions  of  Ca¬ 
li  ian,  but  readily  gave  them  an  inheritance  among 
the  brethren  of  their  father.  And  now  they  reaped 
the  benefit  of  their  own  pious  zeal  and  prudent 
forecast  in  this  matter.  Thus  they  who  take  care 
in  the  wilderness  of  this  world,  to  make  sure  to 
themselves  a  place  in  the  inheritance  of  the  saints 
in  l.ght,  will  certainly  have  the  comfort  of  it  in  the 
other  world,  while  those  that  neglect  it  now,  will 
lose  it  for  ever. 

7.  And  the  coast  of  Manasseh  was  from 
Asher  to  Miehmethah,  that  lieth  before  She- 
chem ;  and  the  border  went  along  on  the 
right  hand  unto  the  inhabitants  of  En-tap- 
puah.  8.  Now  Manasseh  had  the  land  of 
Tappuah:  but  Tappuah,  on  the  border  of 
Manasseh,  belonged  to  the  children  of 
Ephraim.  9.  And  the  coast  descended  unto 
the  river  Kanah,  southward  of  the  river: 
these  cities  of  Ephraim  are  among  the  cities 
of  Manasseh:  the  coast  of  Manasseh  also 
was  on  the  north  side  of  the  river,  and  the 
out-goings  of  it  were  at  the  sea:  10.  South¬ 
ward  it  was  Ephraim’s,  and  northward  it 
was  Manasseh’s,  and  the  sea  is  his  border  ; 
and  they  met  together  in  Asher  on  the 
north,  and  in  Issachar  on  the  east.  11. 
And  Manasseh  had  in  Issachar,  and  in 
Asher,  Beth-shean  and  her  towns,  and  lb- 
leam  and  her  towns,  and  the  inhabitants  of 
Dor  and  her  towns,  and  the  inhabitants  of 
En-dor  and  her  towns,  and  the  inhabitants 
of  Taanach  and  her  towns,  and  the  inha¬ 
bitants  of  Megiddo  and  her  towns,  even 
three  countries.  12.  Yet  the  children  of 
Manasseh  could  not  drive  out  the  inhabit¬ 
ants  of  those  cities;  but  the  Canaanites 
would  dwell  in  that  land.  13.  Yet  it  came 
to  pass,  when  the  children  of  Israel  were 
waxen  strong,  that  they  put  the  Canaanites 
to  tribute ;  but  did  not  utterly  drive  them 
out.  _ 

We  have  here  a  short  account  of  the  lot  of  this 
half-tribe.  It  reached  from  Jordan  on  the  east,  to 
the  great  sea  on  the  west,  on  the  south  it  lay  all 
along  contiguous  to  Ephraim,  but  on  the  north  it 
abutted  upon  Asher  and  Issachar  ;  Asher  lay  north¬ 
west,  and  Issachar  north-east,  which  seems  to  be 
the  meaning  of  that,  v.  10.  that  they  (that  is,  Ma¬ 
nasseh,  and  Ephraim  as  related  to  it,  both  together 
making  the  tribe  of  Joseph)  met  in  Asher  on  the 
north,  and  Issachar  on  the  east,  for  F,phraim  itself 
reached  not  those  tribes. 

Some  things  are  particularly  observed  concerning 
this  lot: 

1.  That  there  was  great  communication  between 
this  tribe  and  that  of  Ephraim.  The  city  of  Tap¬ 
puah  belonged  to  Ephraim,  but  the  country  adjoin¬ 
ing  to  Manasseh,  v.  8.  there  were  likewise  many 


cities  of  Ephraim,  that  lay  within  the  border  of  Ma 
nasseh,  v.  9.  of  which  before,  ch.  16.  9. 

2.  That  Manasseh  likewise  had  cities  with  their 
appurtenances  in  the  tribes  of  Issachar  and  Ash¬ 
er,  v.  11.  God  so  ordering  it,  that  though  each 
tribe  had  its  peculiar  inheritance,  which  might  not 
be  alienated  from  it,  yet  they  should  thus  intermix 
one  with  another,  to  keep  up  mutual  acquaintance 
and  correspondence  between  the  tribes,  and  to  give 
occasion  for  the  doing  of  good  offices  one  to  anoth¬ 
er,  as  became  those,  who,  though  of  different 
tribes,  were  all  one  Israel,  and  were  bound  to  love 
as  brethren. 

3.  That  they  suffered  the  Canaanites  to  live 
among  them,  contrary  to  the  command  of  God,  ser¬ 
ving  their  own  ends  by  conniving  at  them,  for  they 
made  them  tributaries,  v.  12,  13.  The  Ephraim- 
ites  had  done  the  same,  ch.  16.  10,  and  from  them 
perhaps  the  Man<;ssites  learned  it,  and  with  their 
example  excused  themselves  in  it. 

The  most  remarkable  person  of  this  half-tribe  in 
after  time,  was  Gideon,  whose  great  actions  were 
done  within  this  lot.  He  was  of  the  family  of  Abie- 
zer;  Cesai’ea  was  in  this  lot,  and  Antipatris,  famed 
in  the  latter  ages  of  the  Jewish  state. 

14.  And  the  children  of  Joseph  spake 
unto  Joshua,  saying,  Why  hast  thou  given 
me  but  one  lot  and  one  portion  to  inherit, 
seeing  I  am  a  great  people,  forasmuch  as 
the  Lord  hath  blessed  me  hitherto?  15. 
And  Joshua  answered  them,  If  thou  be  a 
great  people,  then  get  thee  up  to  the  wood 
country ,  and  cut  down  for  thyself  there  in 
the  land  of  the  Perizzites  and  of  the  giants, 
if  mount  Ephraim  be  too  narrow  for  thee. 
16.  And  the  children  of  Joseph  said,  The 
hill  is  not  enough  for  us :  and  all  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  that  dwell  in  the  land  of  the  valley 
have  chariots  of  iron,  both  they  who  are  of 
Beth-shean  and  her  towns,  and  they  who 
are  of  the  valley  of  Jezreel.  1 7.  And  Josh 
ua  spake  unto  the  house  of  Joseph,  even  to 
Ephraim  and  to  Manasseh,  saying,  Thou 
art  a  great  people,  and  hast  great  power ; 
thou  shalt  not  have  one  lot  only :  1 8.  But 

the  mountain  shall  be  thine  ;  for  it  is  a  wood, 
and  thou  shalt  cut  it  down  :  and  the  outgo¬ 
ings  of  it  shall  be  thine :  for  thou  shalt  drive 
out  the  Canaanites,  though  they  have  iron 
chariots,  and  though  they  be  strong. 

Here, 

I.  The  children  of  Joseph  quarrel  with  their  lot; 
if  they  had  had  any  just  cause  to  quarrel  with  it,  we 
have  reason  to  think  Joshua  would  have  relieved 
them,  by  adding  to  it,  or  altering  it,  which  it  dees 
not  appear  he  did.  It  is  probable,  because  Joshua 
was  himself  of  the  tribe  of  Ephraim,  they  promised 
themselves  that  they  should  have  some  particular 
favour  showed  them,  and  should  not  be  confined  to 
the  decision  of  the  lot  so  closely  as  the  other  tribes; 
but  Joshua  makes  them  know  that  in  the  discharge 
of  his  office,  as  a  public  person,  he  had  no  more  re¬ 
gard  to  his  own  tribe  than  to  any  other,  but  would 
administer  impartially,  without  favour  or  affection; 
wherein  he  has  left  an  excellent  example  to  all  in 
public  trusts!  It  was  a  very  competent  provision 
that  was  made  for  them,  as  much,  for  aught  that 
appears,  as  they  were  able  to  manage,  and  yet  they 
call  it  in  disdain  but  one  lot,  as  if  that  which  was 


JOSHUA,  XVIII.  77 


assigned  to  them  both,  was  scarcely  sufficient  for 
one.  The  word  for  com/ilainers  (Jude  16.)  is 
blamers  of  their  lot,  like  the  children 
of  Joseph,  who  would  have  that  altered,  the  dispo¬ 
sal  whereof  is  from  the  Lord.  Two  things  they 
suggest,  to  enforce  their  petition  for  an  augmenta¬ 
tion  of  their  lot.  1.  That  they  were  very  nume¬ 
rous,  through  the  blessing  of  God  upon  them,  v.  14, 
lam  a  great  people,  for  the  Lord  has  blessed  me; 
and  we  have  reason  to  hope  that  he  that  hath  sent 
mouths,  will  send  meat.  “/  am  a  great  people, 
and  in  so  small  a  lot  shall  not  have  room  to  thrive.” 
Yet,  observe,  when  they  speak  thankfully  of  their 
present  increase,  they  do  not  speak  confidently  of 
the  continuance  of  it;  “the  Lord  has  blessed  me 
hitherto,  however  he  may  see  fit  to  deal  with  me 
for  the  future.”  The  uncertainty  of  what  may  be, 
must  not  make  us  unthankful  for  what  has  been, 
and  is  done  in  kindness  to  us.  2.  That  a  good  part 
of  that  country  which  was  now  fallen  to  their  lot, 
was  in  the  hands  of  the  Canaanites,  and  that  they 
were  formidable  enemies,  who  brought  into  the  field 
of  battle  chariots  of  iron,  v.  16.  that  is,  chariots  with 
long  scythes  fastened  to  the  sides  of  them,  or  the 
axle-tree,  which  made  great  destruction  of  all  that 
came  in  their  way,  mowing  them  down  like  com. 
They  urge,  that  though  they  had  a  good  portion 
assigned  them,  yet  it  was  in  bad  hands,  and  they 
could  not  come  to  the  possession  of  it,  wishing  to 
have  their  lot  in  those  countries  that  were  more 
thoroughly  reduced  than  this  Avas. 

II.  Joshua  endeavours  to  reconcile  them  to  their 
lot,  he  owns  they  were  a  great  people,  and  being 
two  tribes,  ought  to  have  more  than  one  lot  only,  v. 
17.  but  tells  them,  that  what  was  fallen  to  their 
share,  would  be  a  sufficient  lot  to  them  both,  if  they 
would  but  work  and  fight.  They  desired  a  lot  in 
which  they  might  indulge  themselves  in  ease  and 
luxury;  “No,”  says  Joshua,  “you  must  not  count 
upon  that;  in  the  sweat  of  thy  face  shall  thou  eat 
bread,  is  a  sentence  in  force,  even  in  Canaan  itself.” 
He  retorts  their  own  argument,  that  they  were  a 
great  people,  “  If  so,  you  are  the  better  able  to  help 
yourselves,  and  have  the  less  reason  to  expect  help 
from  others.  If  thou  hast  many  mouths  to  be  fill¬ 
ed,  thou  hast  twice  as  many  hands  to  be  employed; 
earn,  and  then  eat.” 

1,  He  bids  them  work  for  more,  v.  15.  Get 
thee  up  to  the  wood-country ,  which  is  within  thy 
own  border,  and  let  all  hands  be  set  on  work  to  cut 
down  the  trees,  rid  the  rough  lands,  and  make 
them,  with  art  and  industry,  good  arable  ground. 
Note,  Many  wish  for  large  possessions,  who  do  not 
cultivate  and  make  the  best  of  what  they  have, 
think  they  should  have  more  talents  given  them, 
who  do  not  trade  with  those  with  which  they  are 
entrusted.  Most  people’s  poverty  is  the  effect  of 
their  idleness ;  would  they  dig,  they  need  not  beg. 

2.  He  bids  them  fight  for  more,  v.  17,  18.  when 
they  pleaded  that  they  could  not  come  at  the  wood¬ 
lands  he  spoke  of,  because  in  the  valley  between 
them  and  it,  there  were  Canaanites  whom  they 
durst  not  enter  the  list  with.  “  Never  fear  them,” 
said  Joshua,  “thou  hast  God  on  thy  side,  and  thou 
shalt  drive  out  the  Canaanites,  if  thou  wilt  set 
about  it  in  good  earnest,  though  they  have  iron  cha¬ 
riots.”  We  straiten  ourselves  by  apprehending  the 
difficulties  in  the  way  of  our  enlargement  to  be 
greater  than  really  they  are.  What  can  be  insu¬ 
perable  to  faith  and  holy  resolution? 

CHAP.  XVIII. 

In  this  chapter  we  have,  I.  The  setting  up  of  the  taberna¬ 
cle  at  Shiloh,  v.  1.  II.  The  stirring  up  of  the  seven 

tribes  that  were  yet  unsettled,  to  look  after  their  lot, 

and  the  putting  oi  them  in  a  method  for  it,  by  Joshua,  v. 

1..1.  Ill  T?ie  distributing  of  the  land  into  seven  lots, 


by  certain  men  employed  for  that  purpose,  v.  8,  9.  IV. 
The  determining  of  these  seven  portions  to  the  seven 
tribes  yet  unprovided  for  by  lot,  v.  10.  V.  The  particu¬ 
lar  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin,  the  borders  of  it,  v.  11 . . 
20.  And  the  cities  contained  in  it,  v.  21 . .  28.  The 
other  six  tribes  we  shall  find  well  provided  for  in  the 
next  chapter. 

1.  4  ND  the  whole  congregation  of  the 

.TjL  children  of  Israel  assembled  together 
at  Shiloh,  and  set  up  the  tabernacle  of  the 
congregation  there.  And  the  land  was 
subdued  before  them. 

In  the  midst  of  the  story  of  the  dividing  of  the 
land,  comes  in  this  account  of  the  setting  up  the  ta¬ 
bernacle,  which  had  hitherto  continued  in  its  old 
place  in  the  centre  of  their  camp;  but  now  that 
three  of  the  four  squadrons  that  used  to  surround  it 
in  the  wilderness,  were  broken  and  diminished, 
those  of  Judah,  Ephraim,  and  Reuben,  by  the  re¬ 
moval  of  those  tribes  to  their  respective  possessions, 
and  that  of  Dan  only  remained  entire,  it  was  time 
to  think  of  removing  the  tabernacle  itself  into  a  city. 
Many  a  time  the  priests  and  Le\ites  had  taken  it 
down,  carried  it,  and  set  it  up  again  in  the  wilder¬ 
ness,  according  to  the  directions  given  them. 
Numb.  4.  5,  &c.  but  now  they  must  do  it  for  good 
and  all,  not  one  of  the  stakes  thereof  must  any  more 
be  removed,  nor  any  of  the  cords  thereof  broken, 
Isa.  33.  20.  Observe, 

1.  The  place  to  which  the  tabernacle  was  remov¬ 
ed,  and  in  which  it  was  set  up.  It  was  Shiloh,  a 
city  in  the  lot  of  Ephraim,  but  lying  close  upon  the 
lot  of  Benjamin.  Doubtless,  God  himself  did  some 
way  or  other  direct  them  to  this  place,  for  he  had 

romised  to  choose  the  place  where  he  would  make 
is  name  to  dwell,  Deut.  12.  11.  It  is  most  proba¬ 
ble,  God  made  known  his  mind  in  this  matter  by 
the  judgment  of  Urim.  This  place  was  pitched 
upon,  (1.)  Because  it  was  in  the  heart  of  the  coun¬ 
try,  nearer  the  centre  than  Jerusalem  was,  and 
therefore  the  more  com  enient  for  the  meeting  of 
all  Israel  there  from  the  several  parts  of  the  coun¬ 
try;  it  had  been  in  the  midst  of  their  camp  in  the 
wilderness,  and  therefore  must  now  be  in  the  midst 
of  their  nation,  as  that  which  sanctifieth  the  whole, 
and  was  the  glory  in  the  midst  of  them.  See  Ps. 
46.  5.  (2. )  Because  it  was  in  the  lot  of  that  tribe 

of  which  Joshua  was,  who  was  now  their  chief  ma¬ 
gistrate,  and  it  would  be  both  for  his  honour  and 
convenience,  and  for  the  advantage  of  the  country, 
to  have  it  near  him.  The  testimony  of  Israel  and 
the  thrones  of  judgment  do  well  together,  Ps.  122. 
4,  5.  (3.)  Some  think  there  was  an  eye  to  the 

name  of  the  place,  Shiloh  being  the  name  by  which 
the  Messiah  was  known,  in  dying  Jacob’s  prophecy, 
Gen.  49.  10.  which  prophecy,  no  doubt,  was  well 
known  among  the  Jews;  the  settingup  of  the  taber¬ 
nacle  in  Shiloh  gave  them  a  hint,  that  in  that 
Shiloh,  whom  Jacob  spoke  of,  all  the  ordinances  of 
this  worldly  sanctuary  should  have  their  accom¬ 
plishment  in  a  greater  and  more  perfect  tabernacle, 
Heb.  9.  1,  11.  And  Dr.  Lightfoot  thinks  that  the 
place  where  the  tabernacle  was  set  up,  was  there¬ 
fore  called  Shiloh,  because  of  the  peaceableness  of 
the  land  at  this  time;  as  afterward  in  Salem  was  his 
temple,  which  also  signifies  peaceable. 

2.  The  solemn  manner  of  doing  it.  The  vihole 
congregation  assembled  together  to  attend  the  so¬ 
lemnity,  to  do  honour  to  the  ark  of  God,  as  the  token 
of  his  presence,  and  to  bid  it  welcome  to  its  settle¬ 
ment.  Every  Israelite  was  interested  in  it,  and 
therefore  all  testified  their  joy  and  satisfaction  upon 
this  occasion.  See  2  Sam.  6.  15.  It  is  probable, 
those  tribes  that  were  yet  encamped  when  the  ta 
bemacle  was  removed  to  Shiloh,  decamped  from 


JOSHUA,  XVIII. 


78 

Gilgal,  and  pitched  about  Shiloh,  for  every  Israel¬ 
ite  will  desire  to  fix  there  where  God’s  tabernacle 
fixes.  Mention  is  made,  on  ftiis  occasion,  of  the 
land’s  being  subdued  before  them,  to  intimate,  that 
the  country,  hereabouts  at  least,  being  thoroughly 
reduced,  they  met  with  no  opposition,  nor  were 
they  apprehensive  of  any  danger,  but  thought  it 
time  to  make  this  grateful  acknowledgment  of 
God’s  goodness  to  them  in  the  constant  series  of 
successes  with  which  he  had  blessed  them.  It  was 
a  good  presage  of  a  comfortable  settlement  to  them¬ 
selves  in  Canaan,  when  their  first  care  was  to  see 
the  ark  well  settled,  as  soon  as  they  had  a  safe 
place  ready  to  settle  it  in.  Here  the'ark  continued 
about  three  hundred  years,  till  the  sins  of  Eli’s 
house  forfeited  the  ark,  lost  it,  and  ruined  Shiloh, 
and  its  ruins  were  long  after  made  use  of  as  warn¬ 
ings  to  Jerusalem;  Go,  see  what  I  did  to  Shiloh, 
Jer.  7.  12.  Ps.  78.  60. 

2.  And  there  remained  among  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  seven  tribes  which  had  not 
yet  received  their  inheritance.  3.  And  Josh¬ 
ua  said  unto  the  children  of  Israel,  How 
long  are  ye  slack  to  go  to  possess  the  land 
which  the  Lord  God  of  your  fathers  hath 
given  you  ?  4.  Give  out  from  among  you 
three  men  for  each  tribe:  and  I  will  send 
them,  and  they  shall  rise  and  go  through  the 
land,  and  describe  it,  according  to  the  inhe¬ 
ritance  of  them  ;  and  they  shall  come  again 
to  me.  5.  And  they  shall  divide  it  into  seven 
parts:  Judah  shall  abide  in  their  coast  on 
the  south,  and  the  house  of  Joseph  shall 
abide  in  their  coasts  on  the  north.  6.  Ye 
shall  therefore  describe  the  land  into  seven 
parts,  and  bring  the  description  hither  to  me, 
that  I  may  cast  lots  for  you  here  before  the 
Lord  our  God.  7.  But  the  Levites  have 
no  part  among  you ;  for  the  priesthood  of 
the  Lord  is  their  inheritance  :  and  Gad,  and 
Reuben,  and  half  the  tribe  of  Manasseh, 
have  received  their  inheritance  beyond  Jor¬ 
dan  on  the  east,  which  Moses  the  servant 
of  the  Lord  gave  them.  8.  And  the  men 
arose,  and  went  away :  and  Joshua  charged 
them  that  went  to  describe  the  land,  saying, 
Go  and  walk  through  the  land,  and  describe 
it,  and  come  again  to  me,  that  I  may  here 
cast  lots  for  you  before  the  Lord  in  Shiloh. 
9.  And  the  men  went,  and  passed  through 
the  land,  and  described  it  by  cities,  into 
seven  parts,  in  a  book,  and  came  again  to 
Joshua  to  the  host  at  Shiloh.  10.  And  Josh¬ 
ua  cast  lots  for  them  in  Shiloh  before  the 
Lord  :  and  there  Joshua  divided  the  land 
unto  the  children  of  Israel,  according  to  their 
divisions. 

Here, 

I.  Joshua  reproves  those  tribes  which  were  yet 
unsettled,  that  they  did  not  bestir  themselves  to 
gain  a  settlement  in  the  land  which  God  had  given 
them.  Seven  tribes  were  yet  unprovided  for:  though 
sure  of  an  inheritance,  yet  uncertain  where  it  should 
be,  and,  it  seems,  in  no  great  care  about  it,  v.  2. 
and  with  them  Joshua  reasons,  v.  3,  How  long  are 


ye  slack ?  1.  They  were  too  well  pleased  with  their 
present  condition,  liked  well  enough  to  In  e  in  a 
body  together,  the  more  the  merr.er,  and,  like  the 
Babel-builders,  had  no  mind  to  be  scattered  abroad, 
and  break  good  company.  The  spoil  of  the  cities 
they  had  taken,  served  them  to  live  plentifully  upon 
for  the  present,  and  they  banished  the  thoughts  of 
time  to  come.  Perhaps,  the  tribes  cf  Judah  and 
Joseph,  who  had  already  received  their  inheritance 
in  the  countries  next  adjoining,  were  generous  in 
entertaining  their  brethren,  who  were  yet  unpro¬ 
vided  for,  so  that  they  went  from  one  good  house  to 
another  among  their  friends,  with  which,  instead  of 
grudging  that  they  were  postponed,  they  were  so 
well  pleased,  that  they  cared  not  of  going  to  houses 
of  their  own.  2.  They  were  slothful  and  dilatory; 
it  may  be,  they  wished  the  thing  done,  but  hau  not 
spirit  to  stir  in  it,  or  move  toward  the  doing  of  ft, 
though  it  was  so  much  for  their  own  advantage;  like 
the  sluggard,  that  hides  his  hand  in  his  bosom,  and 
it  grieves  him  to  bring  it  to  his  mouth  again.  The 
countries  that  remained  to  be  divided,  lay  at  a  dis¬ 
tance,  and  some  parts  of  them  in  the  hands  of  the 
Canaanites.  If  they  go  to  take  possession  of  them, 
the  cities  must  be  rebuilt  or  repaired,  they  must 
drive  their  flocks  and  herds  a  great  way,  and  carry 
their  wi\  es  and  children  to  strange  places,  and  this 
will  not  be  done  without  care  and  pains,  and  break¬ 
ing  through  some  hardships;  thus,  He  that  observes 
the  wind,  shall  not  sow;  and  he  that  regards  the 
clouds  shall  not  reap,  Eccl.  11.  4.  Note,  Many  are 
diverted  from  real  duties,  and  debarred  from  real 
comforts,  by  seeming  difficulties.  Gcd  by  his  grace 
has  given  us  a  title  to  a  good  land,  the  heavenly  Ca¬ 
naan,  but  we  are  slack  to  take  possession,  we  enter 
not  into  that  rest,  as  we  might,  by  faith,  and  hope, 
and  holy  joy;  we  live  not  in  heaven,  as  we  might, 
by  setting  our  affections  on  things  above,  and  hav¬ 
ing  our  conversation  there.  How  long  shall  it  be 
thus  with  us?  How  long  shall  we  thus  stand  in  our 
own  light,  and  forsake  our  own  mercies  for  lying 
vanities?  Joshua  was  sensible  of  the  inconveniences 
of  this  delay,  that  while  they  neglected  to  take  pos¬ 
session  of  the  land  that  was  conquered,  the  Canaan¬ 
ites  were  recovering  strength  and  spirit,  and 
fortifying  themselves  in  the  places  that  were  yet  in 
their  hands,  which  would  make  the  total  expulsion 
of  them  the  more  difficult.  They  would  lose  their 
advantages  by  not  following  their  blow;  and  there¬ 
fore  as  an  eagle  stirreth  up  her  nest,  so  Joshua  stirs 
them  up  to  take  possession  of  their  lot.  He  is  ready 
to  do  his  part,  if  they  will  but  do  their’s. 

II.  He  puts  them  in  a  way  to  settle  themselves 
1.  The  land  that  remained  must  be  surveyed,  a) 
account  taken  of  the  cities,  and  the  territories  be 
longing  to  them,  v.  4.  These  must  be  divided  into 
seven  equal  parts,  as  near  as  they  could  guess  at 
their  true  value,  which  they  must  have  an  eye  to, 
and  not  only  to  the  number  of  the  cities,  and  extent 
of  the  country.  Judah  is  fixed  on  the  south,  and 
Joseph  on  the  north,  of  Shiloh,  to  protect  the  taber¬ 
nacle,  v.  5.  and  therefore  they  need  not  describe 
their  country,  but  those  countries  only  that  were 
yet  undisposed  of.  He  gives  a  reason,  v.  7.  why 
they  must  divide  it  into  seven  parts  only,  becausp 
the  Levites  were  to  have  no  temporal  estate,  (  a.‘ 
we  say,)  but  their  benefices  only,  which  were  en 
tailed  upon  their  families.  The  priesthood  of  tht 
Lord  is  their  inheritance,  and  a  very  honourable, 
comfortable,  plentiful  inheritance  it  was.  Gad  and 
Reuben,  with  half  of  the  tribe  of  Manasseh,  were 
already  fixed,  and  needed  not  to  have  any  further 
care  taken  of  them.  Now,  (1.)  The  surveyors 
were  three  men  out  of  each  of  the  seven  tribes  that 
were  to  be  provided  for,  v.  4.  one-and-twenty  in  all, 
who,  perhaps,  for  greater  expedition,  because  they 
had  already  lost  time,  divided  themselves  into  three 


79 


JOSHUA,  XVIII. 


companies,  one  of  each  tribe  m  each  company, 
and  took  each  their  district  to  survey.  The  mat¬ 
ter  was  thus  referred  equally,  that  there  might  be 
neither  any  partiality  used  in  making  up  the  seven 
lots,  nor  any  umbrage  or  suspicion  given,  but  all 
might  be  satisfied  that  they  had  right  done  them. 
(2. )  The  survey  was  accordingly  made,  and  brought 
in  to  Joshua,  v.  8,  9.  Josephus  says  it  was  seven 
months  in  the  doing.  Ana  we  must  in  it  observe, 
[1.]  The  faith  and  courage  of  the  persons  employ¬ 
ed,  abundance  of  Canaanites  remained  in  the  land, 
and  all  raging  against  Israel,  as  a  bear  robbed  of  her 
whelps,  the  business  of  these  surveyors  would  soon 
be  known,  and  what  could  they  expect  but  to  be 
waylaid,  and  have  their  brains  knocked  out  by  the 
fierce  observers?  But,  in  obedience  to  Joshua’s 
command,  and  in  dependence  upon  God’s  power, 
they  thus  put  their  lives  in  their  hands  to  serve 
their  country.  [2.  ]  The  good  providence  of  God 
in  protecting  them  from  the  many  deaths  they  were 
exposed  to,  and  bringing  them  all  safe  again  to  the 
host  at  Shiloh.  When  we  are  in  the  wav  of  our 
duty,  we  ait;  under  the  special  protection  of  the 
Almighty. 

2.  When  it  was  surveyed,  and  reduced  to  seven 
lots,  then  Joshua  would  by  appeal  to  God,  and  di¬ 
rection  from  him,  determine  which  of  these  lots 
should  belong  to  each  tribe,  v.  6.  That  I  may  cast  \ 
lots  for  you  here  at  the  tabernacle  (because  it  was  a  ! 
sacred  transaction)  before  the  Lord  our  God,  to 
whom  each  tribe  must  have  an  eye,  with  thankful¬ 
ness  for  the  conveniences,  and  submission  to  the  in¬ 
conveniences,  of  their  allotment.  What  we  have 
in  the  world,  we  mufct  acknowledge  God’s  property  ; 
in,  and  dispose  of  it  as  before  him,  with  justice  and 
charity,  and  dependence  upon  Providence.  The 
heavenly  Canaan  is  described  to  us  in  a  book,  the 
book  of  the  scriptures,  and  there  are  in  it  mansions 
and  portions  sufficient  for  all  God’s  spiritual  Israel; 
Christ  is  our  Joshua  that  divides  it  to  us,  on  him  we 
must  attend,  and  to  him  we  must  apply  ourselves, 
for  an  inheritance  with  the  saints  in  light.  See 
John  17.  2,  3. 

1 1 .  And  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  the  child¬ 
ren  of  Benjamin  came  up  according  to  their 
families :  and  the  coast  of  their  lot  came  up 
forth  between  the  children  of  Judah  and  (he 
children  of  Joseph.  12.  And  their  border, 
on  the  north  side,  was  from  Jordan  :  and  the 
border  went  up  to  the  side  of  Jericho  on  the 
north  side,  and  went  up  through  the  moun¬ 
tains  westward ;  and  the  goings  out  thereof 
were  at  the  wilderness  of  Beth-aven.  13. 
And  the  border  went  over  from  thence  to¬ 
ward  Luz,  to  the  side  of  Luz,  (which  is 
Beth-el,)  southward ;  and  the  border  de¬ 
scended  to  Ataroth-adar,  near  the  hill  that 
lielh  on  the  south  side  of  the  nether  Beth- 
horon.  14.  And  the  border  was  drawn 
thence ,  and  compassed  the  corner  of  the  sea 
southward,  from  the  hill  that  lieth  before 
Beth-horon  southward;  and  the  goings  out 
thereof  were  at  Kirjath-baal  (which  is  Kir- 
jath-jearim,)  a  city  of  the  children  of  Judah  : 
this  was  the  west  quarter.  15.  And  the 
south  quarter  teas  from  the  end  of  Kirjath- 
jearim ;  and  the  border  went  out  on  the 
west,  and  went  out  to  the  well  of  waters  of 
Nephtoah:  16.  And  the  border  came  down 


!  to  the  end  of  the  mountain  that  lieth  before 
the  valley  of  the  son  of  Hinnom,  and  which 
is  in  the  valley  of  the  giants  on  the  north, 
and  descended  to  the  valley  of  Hinnom,  to 
the  side  of  Jebusi  on  the  south,  and  descend¬ 
ed  to  En-rogel,  17.  And  was  drawn  from  the 
north,  and  went  forth  to  En-shemesh,  and 
went  forth  toward  Geliloth,  which  is  over 
against  the  going  up  of  Adummim,  and  de¬ 
scended  to  the  stone  of  Bohan  the  son  of 
Reuben,  18.  And  passed  along  toward  the 
side  over  against  Arabah  northward,  and 
went  down  unto  Arabah  :  1 9.  And  the  bor¬ 
der  passed  along  to  the  side  of  Beth-hoglah 
northward:  and  the  outgoings  of  the  border 
were  at  the  north  bay  of  the  salt  sea,  at  the 
south  end  of  Jordan :  this  was  the  south  coast. 
20.  And  Jordan  was  the  border  of  it  on  the 
east  side.  Tins  teas  the  inheritance  of  the 
children  of  Benjamin,  by  the  coasts  thereof 
round  about,  according  to  their  families.  21 . 
Now  the  cities  of  the  tribe  of  the  children  of 
Benjamin,  according  to  their  families,  were 
Jericho,  and  Beth-hoglah,  and  the  valley  of 
Keziz,  22.  And  Beth-arabah,  and  Zema- 
raim,  and  Beth-el,  23.  And  Avim,  and  Pa- 
rah,  and  Oplnah,  24.  And  Chephar-haam- 
monai,  and  Ophni,  and  Gaba;  twelve  cities 
with  their  villages :  25.  Gibeon,  and  Ramah, 
and  Beeroth,  26.  And  Mizpeh,  and  Che- 
phirah,  and  Mozah,  27.  And  Rekem,  and 
Irpeel,  and  Taralah,  28.  And  Zelah,  Eleph, 
and  Jebusi  (which  is  Jerusalem,)  Gibeath, 
and  Kirjath;  fourteen  cities  with  their  vil¬ 
lages.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the  children 
of  Benjamin,  according  to  their  families. 

We  have  here  the  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin, 
which  Providence  cast  next  to  Joseph  on  the  one 
hand,  because  Benjamin  was  own  and  only  brother 
to  Joseph,  and  was  little  Benjamin,  Ps.  68.  27.  that 
needed  the  protection  of  great  Joseph,  and  yet  had 
a  better  Protector,  for  the  Lord  shall  cover  him  all 
the  day  long,  Deut.  33.  12.  And  next  to  Judah,  on 
the  other  hand,  that  this  tribe  might  hereafter  unite 
with  Judah  in  an  adherence  to  the  throne  of  David, 
and  the  temple  at  Jerusalem.  Here  we  have, 

1.  The  exact  borders  and  limits  of  this  tribe, 
which  we  need  not  be  exact  in  the  explication  of;  as 
it  had  Judah  on  the  south,  and  Joseph  on  the  north, 
so  it  had  Jordan  on  the  east,  and  Dan  on  the  west. 
The  western  border  is  said  to  compass  the  corner 
of  the  sea  southward,  v.  14.  whereas  no  part  of  the 
lot  of  this  tribe  came  near  to  the  great  sea.  Bishop 
Patrick  thinks  the  meaning  is,  that  it  ran  along  in  a 
parallel  line  to  the  great  sea,  though  at  a  distance. 
Dr.  Fuller  suggests  that  since  it  is  not  called  the 
great  sea,  but  only  the  sea,  which  often  signifies  any 
lake  or  mere,  it  may  be  meant  of  the  pool  of  Gibeon, 
which  may  be  called  a  corner  or  canton  of  a  sea;  it 
is  called  the  great  waters  in  Gibeon,  Jer.  41.  12.  and 
it  is  compassed  by  the  western  border  of  this  tribe. 

2.  The  particular  cities  in  this  tribe,  not  all,  but 
the  most  considerable,  twenty-six,  are  here  named. 
Jericho  is  put  first,  though  dismantled,  and  forbid¬ 
den  to  be  rebuilt  as  a  city  with  gates  and  walls,  be¬ 
cause  it  might  be  built  and  inhabited  as  a  country 


BO  JOSHUA,  XIX. 


village,  and  so  was  not  useless  to  this  tribe.  Gilgal 
was  in  this  tribe,  where  Israel  first  encamped  when 
Saul  was  made  king,  1  Sam.  11.  14.  It  was  afterward 
a  very  profane  place,  Flos.  9.  15,  All  their  wicked¬ 
ness  is  in  Gilgal.  Beth-el  was  in  this  tribe,  a  fa¬ 
mous  place;  though  Benjamin  adhered  to  the  house 
of  David,  yet  Beth-el,  it  seems,  was  in  the  posses¬ 
sion  of  the  house  of  Joseph,  Judg.  1.23..  25.  and 
there  Jeroboam  set  up  one  of  his  calves.  Gibeon 
was  in  this  tribe,  where  the  altar  was  in  the  begin¬ 
ning  of  Solomon’s  time,  2  Chron.  1.  3.  Gibeah  like¬ 
wise,  that  infamous  place,  where  the  Levite’s  con- 
eubine  was  abused;  Mizpeh,  and  near  it,  Samuel’s 
Eben-ezer;  Anathoth  also,  Jeremiah’s  city,  were  in 
this  tribe,  as  was  the  northern  part  of  Jerusalem. 
Paul  was  the  honour  of  this  tribe,  Rom.  11.  1.  Phil. 
3.  5.  but  where  his  land  lay,  we  know  not,  he  sought 
the  better  country. 

CHAP.  XIX. 

In  the  description  of  the  lots  of  Judah  and  Benjamin,  we 
have  an  account  both  of  the  borders  that  surrounded 
them,  and  of  the  cities  contained  in  them.  In  that  of 
Ephraim  and  Manasseh  we  have  the  borders,  but  not  the 
cities;  in  this  chapter,  Simeon  and  Dan  are  described  by 
their  cities  only,  and  not  their  borders,  because  they  lay 
very  much  within  Judah,  especially  the  former,  the  rest 
have  both  their  borders  described,  and  their  cities  named, 
especially  frontiers.  Here  is,  1.  The  lot  of  Simeon, 
v.  1  . .  9.  II-  Of  Zebulun,  v.  10. .  16.  III.  Of  Issachar, 
v.  17..  23.  IV.  Of  Asher,  v.  24.  .31.  V.  Of  Naphta- 
li,  v.  32  . .  39.  VI.  Of  Dan,  v.  40 . .  48.  Lastly,  the  in¬ 
heritance  assigned  to  Joshua  himself  and  his  own  fa¬ 
mily,  v.  49  . .  51. 

1.  A  ND  the  second  lot  came  forth  to  Si- 
meon,  even  for  the  tribe  of  the  child¬ 
ren  of  Simeon  according  to  their  families : 
and  their  inheritance  was  within  the  inhe¬ 
ritance  of  the  children  of  Judah.  2.  And 
they  had  in  their  inheritance,  Beer-sheba  or 
Sheba,  and  Moladah,  3.  And  Hazar-shual, 
and  Balah,  and  Azem,  4.  And  Eltolad,  and 
Bethul,  and  Hormah,  5.  And  Ziklag,  and 
Beth-marcaboth,  and  Hazar-susah,  6.  And 
Beth-lebaoth,  and  Sharuhen ;  thirteen  cities 
and  their  villages :  7.  Ain,  Remmon,  and 
Ether,  and  Ashan ;  four  cities  and  their  vil¬ 
lages  :  8.  And  all  the  villages  that  were  round 
about  these  cities  to  Baalath-beer,  Ramath 
of  the  south.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the 
tribe  of  the  children  of  Simeon  according  to 
their  families.  9.  Out  of  the  portion  of  the 
children  of  Judah  ivas  the  inheritance  of  the 
children  of  Simeon ;  for  the  part  of  the  child¬ 
ren  of  Judah  was  too  much  for  them  ;  there¬ 
fore  the  children  of  Simeon  had  their  inherit¬ 
ance  within  the  inheritance  of  them. 

Simeon’s  lot  was  drawn  after  Judah’s,  Joseph’s, 
and  Benjamin’s,  because  Jacob  had  put  that  tribe 
under  disgrace,  yet  it  is  put  before  the  two  younger 
sons  of  Leah  and  the  three  sons  of  the  hand-maids. 
Not  one  person  of  note,  either  judge  or  prophet, 
was  of  the  tribe,  that  we  know  of. 

1.  The  situation  of  their  lot  was  within  that  of 
Judah,  -v.  1.  and  was  taken  from  it,  v.  9.  It  seems, 
they  that  first  surveyed  the  land,  thought  it  larger 
than  it  was,  and  that  it  would  have  held  out,  to  give 
every  tribe  in  proportion  as  large  a  share  as  they 
had  carved  out  of  Judah;  but,  upon  a  more  strict  in¬ 
quiry,  it  was  found  that  it  would  not  reach,  v.  9,  the 
fiart  of  the  children  of  Judah  was  too  much  for 
them,  more  than  they  needed,  and  more,  as  it 


proved,  than  fell  to  their  share.  Yet  God  did  not 
by  the  lot  lessen  it,  but  left  it  to  their  prudence  and 
care  afterward  to  discover  and  rectify  the  mistake, 
which  when  they  did,  (1.)  The  men  of  Judah  did 
not  oppose  the  taking  away  of  the  cities  again, 
which  by  the  first  distribution  fell  within  their  bor¬ 
der,  when  they  were  convinced  that  they  had  more 
than  their  proportion.  In  all  such  cases,  errors 
must  be  expected,  and  a  review  admitted  if  there 
be  occasion.  Though,  in  strictness,  what  fell  to 
their  lot,  was  their  right  against  all  the  world,  yet 
they  would  not  insist  upon  it,  when  it  appeared  that 
another  tribe  would  want  what  they  had  to  spare. 
Note,  We  must  look  on  the  things  of  others,  and 
not  on  our  own  only.  The  abundance  of  some  must 
supply  the  wants  of  others,  that  there  may  be  some¬ 
thing  of  an  equality,  for  which  there  may  be  equity 
where  there  is  not  law.  (2.)  That  which  was  thus 
taken  off  from  Judah  to  be  put  into  a  new  lot,  Pro¬ 
vidence  directed  to  the  tribe  of  Simeon,  that  Jacob’s 
prophecy  concerning  this  tribe  might  be  fulfilled,  I 
will  divide  them  in  Jacob.  The  cities  of  Simeon 
were  scattered  in  Judah,  with  which  tribe  they 
were  surrounded,  except  on  that  side  toward  the 
sea.  This  brought  them  into  a  confederacy  with 
the  tribe  of  Judah,  Judg.  1.  3.  and  afterward  was  a 
happy  occasion  of  the  adherence  of  many  of  this 
tribe  to  the  house  of  David,  at  the  time  of  the  re¬ 
volt  of  the  ten  tribes  to  Jeroboam,  2  Chron.  15.  9, 
out  of  Simeon  they  fell  to  Asa  in  abundance.  It  is 
good  being  in  a  good  neighbourhood. 

2.  The  cities  within  their  lot  are  here  named. 
Beer-sheba,  or  Sheba,  for  they  seem  to  be  the  same 
place,  is  put  first,  Ziklag  is  one  of  them,  which  we 
read  of  in  David’s  story.  What  course  they  took  to 
enlarge  their  borders  and  make  room  for  them¬ 
selves,  we  find  1  Chron.  4.  39,  & c. 

10.  And  the  third  lot  came  up  for  the 
children  of  Zebulun,  according  to  their  fa¬ 
milies:  and  the  border  of  their  inheritance 
was  unto  Sarid :  11.  And  their  border  went 
up  toward  the  sea,  and  Maralah,  and  reach¬ 
ed  to  Dabbasheth,  and  reached  to  the 
river  that  is  before  Jokneam;  12.  And 
turned  from  Sarid  eastward,  toward  the 
sun-rising,  unto  the  border  of  Chisloth-ta- 
bor,  and  then  goeth  out  to  Daberath,  and 
goeth  up  to  Japhia,  13.  And  from  thence 
passeth  on  along  on  the  east  to  Gittah-he- 
pher,  to  Ittah-kazin,  and  goeth  out  to  Rem- 
mon-melhoar  to  Neah:  14.  And  the  border 
compasseth  it  on  the  north  side  to  Hanna- 
thon :  and  the  outgoings  thereof  are  in  the 
valley  of  Jiphthah-el:  15.  And  Kattath,  and 
Nahalal,  and  Shimron,  and  Idalah,  and 
Beth-lehem:  twelve  cities  with  their  vil¬ 
lages.  16.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the 
children  of  Zebulun  according  to  their  fami¬ 
lies,  these  cities  with  their  villages. 

• 

This  is  the  lot  of  Zebulun,  who,  though  born  of 
Leah  after  Issachar,  yet  was  blessed  by  Jacob  and 
Moses  before  him;  and  therefore  it  was  so  ordered, 
that  his  lot  was  drawn  before  that  of  Issachar’s, 
north  of  which  it  lay,  and  south  of  Asher. 

1.  The  lot  of  this  tribe  was  washed  by  the  great 
sea  on  the  west,  and  by  the  sea  of  Tiberius  on  the 
east,  answering  Jacob’s  prophecy,  Gen.  49.  13,  Ze¬ 
bulun  shall  be  a  haven  of  shifis;  trading  ships  on 
the  great  sea,  and  fishing  ships  on  the  sea  of  Galilee. 

2.  Though  there  were  some  palaces  in  this  tribe 


31 


JOSHUA,  XIX. 


which  were  made  famous  in  the  Old  Testament, 
especially  mount  Carmel ,  on  which  the  famous 
trial  was  between  God  and  Baal  in  Elijah’s  time, 
yet  it  was  made  much  more  illustrious  in  the  New 
Testament,  for  within  the  lot  of  this  tribe  was  Na¬ 
zareth,  where  our  blessed  Saviour  spent  so  much 
of  his  time  on  earth,  and  from  which  he  was 
called  Jesus  of  Arazareth,  and  mount  Tabor  on 
which  he  was  transfigured,  and  that  coast  of  the  sea 
of  Galilee  on  which  Christ  preached  so  many  ser¬ 
mons,  and  wrought  so  many  miracles. 

17.  And  the  fourth  lot  came  out  to  Issa- 
char,  for  the  children  of  lssachar  according 
to  their  families.  1 8.  And  their  border  was 
toward  Jezreel,  and  Chesulloth,  and  Shu- 
nem,  19.  And  Haphraim,  and  Shihon,  and 
Anaharath,  20.  And  Rabbith,  and  Kishion, 
and  Abez,  21.  And  Remeth,  and  En-gan- 
nim,  and  En-haddah,  and  Beth-pazzez ;  22. 
And  the  coast  reacheth  to  Tabor,  and  Sha- 
hazimah,  and  Beth-shemesh ;  and  the  out¬ 
goings  of  their  border  were  at  Jordan :  six¬ 
teen  cities  with  their  villages.  23.  This  is 
the  inheritance  of  the  tribe  of  the  children 
of  lssachar  according  to  their  families,  the 
cities  and  their  villages. 

The  lot  of  lssachar  ran  from  Jordan  in  the  east, 
to  the  great  sea  in  the  west,  Manasseh  on  the  south, 
and  Zebulun  on  the  north.  A  numerous  tribe, 
Numb.  26.  25.  Tola,  one  of  the  judges,  was  of  this 
tribe,  Judg.  10. 1.  So  was  Baasha,  one  of  the  kings 
of  Israel,  1  Kings  15.  27.  The  most  considerable 
places  in  this  tribe  were,  1.  Jezreel ,  in  which  was 
Ahab’s  palace,  and  near  it  Naboth’s  vineyard.  2. 
Shunem,  where  lived  the  good  Shunamite,  that  en¬ 
tertained  Elisha.  3.  The  river  Kishon,  on  the 
banks  of  which,  in  this  tribe,  Sisera  was  beaten  by 
Deborah  and  Barak.  4.  The  mountains  of  Gilboa, 
on  which  Saul  and  Jonathan  were  slain,  which  were 
not  far  from  En-dor,  where  Saul  consulted  the 
witch.  5.  The  valley  of  Megiddo,  where  Josiah 
was  slain,  near  Hadad-rimmon,  2  Kings  23.  29. 
Zech.  12.  11. 

24.  And  the  fifth  lot  came  out  for  the  tribe 
of  the  children  of  Ash§r  according  to  their 
families.  25.  And  their  border  was  Hel- 
kath,  and  Hah,  and  Beten,  and  Achshaph, 
26.  And  Alammelech,  and  Amad,  and  Mi-  j 
sheal ;  and  reacheth  to  Carmel  westward, 
and  to  Shihor-libnath ;  27.  And  turncth  to¬ 
ward  the  sun-rising  to  Beth-dagon,  and 
reacheth  to  Zebulun,  and  to  the  valley  of 
Jiphthah-el,  toward  the  north  side  of  Beth- 
emek,  and  Neiel,  and  goeth  out  to  Cabul 
on  the  left  hand,  28.  And  Hebron,  and  Re¬ 
hob,  and  Hammon,  and  Kanah,  even  unto 
great  Zidon  ;  29.  And  then  the  coast  turn- 
eth  to  Ramah,  and  to  the  strong  city  Tyre  ; 
and  the  coast  turneth  to  Hosah;  and- the 
outgoings  thereof  are  at  the  sea,  from  the 
coast  to  Achzib :  30.  Ummah  also,  and 
Aphek,  and  Rehob :  twenty  and  two  cities 
with  their  villages.  31.  This  is  the  inherit¬ 
ance  of  the  tribe  of  the  children  of  Asher 
Vol.  ii. — L 


according  to  their  families,  these  cnies  with 
their  villages. 

The  lot  of  Asher  lay  upon  the  coast  of  the  great 
sea;  we  read  not  of  any  famous  person  of  this  tribe, 
but  Anna  the  prophetess,  who  was  a  constant  resi¬ 
dent  in  the  temple  at  the  time  of  our  Saviour’s  birth, 
Luke  2.  36.  Nor  were  there  many  famous  places 
in  this  tribe.  Aphek,  mentioned  v.  30.  was  the 
place  near  which  Ben-hadad  was  beaten  by  Ahab, 

1  Kings  20.  30.  But  dose  adjoining  to  this  tribe 
were  the  celebrated  sea-port  towns  of  Tyre  and  Si- 
don,  which  we  read  so  much  of.  Tyre  is  called  here 
that  strong  city ,  v.  29.  but  Bishop  Patrick  thinks  it 
was  not  the  same  Tyre  that  we  read  of  afterwards, 
for  that  was  built  on  an  island;  this  old  strong  city 
was  on  the  continent.  And  it  is  conjectured  by 
some,  that  into  these  two  strong  holds,  Sidon  and 
Tzor,  or  Tyre,  many  of  the  people  of  Canaan  fled 
and  took  shelter,  when  Joshua  invaded  them. 

32.  The  sixth  lot  came  out  to  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Naphtali,  even  for  the  children  of 
Naphtali  according  to  their  families.  33. 
And  their  coast  was  from  Heleph,  from  Al¬ 
ton  to  Zaanannim,  and  Adami,  Nekeb, 
and  Jabneel,  unto  Lakum;  and  the  outgo¬ 
ings  thereof  were  at  Jordan;  34.  And  then 
the  coast  turneth  westward  to  Aznoth-tabor, 
and  goeth  out  from  thence  to  Hukkok,  and 
reacheth  to  Zebulun  on  the  south  side,  and 
reacheth  to  Asher  on  the  west  side,  and  to 
Judah  upon  Jordan  toward  the  sun-rising. 

35.  And  the  fenced  cities  are  Ziddim,  Zer, 
and  Hammath,  Rakkath,  and  Chinnereth, 

36.  And  Adamah,  and  Ramah,  and  Hazor, 

37.  And  Kedesh,  and  Edrei,  and  En-hazor, 

38.  Andiron,  andMigdal-el,Horem,Beth- 
anath,  and  Beth-shemesh;  nineteen  cities 
with  their  villages.  39.  This  is  the  inherit¬ 
ance  of  the  tribe  of  the  children  of  Naph¬ 
tali  according  to  their  families,  the  cities 
and  their  villages. 

Naphtali  lay  furthest  north  of  all  the  tribes,  bor¬ 
dering  on  mount  Libanus.  The  city  of  Leshem,  or 
Laish,  lay  on  the  utmost  edge  of  it  to  the  north,  and 
therefore,  when  the  Danites  had  made  themselves 
masters  of  it,  and  called  it  Dan,  the  length  of  Ca¬ 
naan  from  north  to  south  was  reckoned  from  Dan  to 
Beer-sheba.  It  had  Zebulun  on  the  south,  Asher 
en  the  west,  and  Judah  upon  Jordan,  probably,  a 
city  of  that  name,  and  so  distinguished  from  the 
tribe  of  Judah,  on  the  east.  It  was  in  the  lot  of  this 
tribe,  near  the  waters  of  Merom,  that  Joshua  fought 
and  routed  Jabin,  ch.  11.  1.  & c.  In  this  tribe  stood 


works;  and  the  mountain  (as  is  supposed)  on  which 
Christ  preached,  Matt.  5.  1. 

40.  And  the  seventh  tot  came  out  for  the 
tribe  of  the  children  of  Dan,  according  to 
their  families.  4 1 .  And  the  coast  of  their 
inheritance  was  Zorah,  and  Eshtaol,  and 
lr-shemesh,  42.  And  Shaalabbin,  and  Aja- 
!  ton,  and  Jethlah,  43.  And  Eton,  and  Thim- 
!  nathah,  and  Ekron,  44.  And  Eltekeh,  and 
I  Gibbethon,  and  Baalath,  45.  And  Jehud* 


32 


JOSHUA,  XX. 


and  Bene-berak,  and  Gath-rimmon,  46. 
And  Me-jarkon,  and  Rakkon,  with  the  bol  ¬ 
der  before  Japho.  47.  And  the  coast  of  the 
children  of  Dan  went  out  too  little  for  them  ; 
therefore  the  children  of  Dan  went  up  to 
fight  against  Leshem,  and  took  it,  and  smote 
it  with  the  edge  of  the  sword,  and  possessed 
it,  and  dwelt  therein,  and  called  Leshem, 
Dan,  after  the  name  of  Dan  their  father. 
43.  This  is  the  inheritance  of  the  tribe  of 
the  children  of  Dan  according  to  their  fami¬ 
lies,  these  cities  with  their  villages. 

Dan,  though  commander  of  one  of  the  four  squa¬ 
drons  of  the  camp  of  Israel,  in  the  wilderness,  that 
which  brought  up  the  rear,  yet  was  last  provided 
for  in  Canaan,  and  his  lot  fell  in  the  southern  part 
of  Canaan,  between  Judah  on  the  east,  and  the  land 
of  the  Philistines  on  the  west;  Ephraim  on  the 
north,  and  Simeon  on  the  south.  Providence  or¬ 
dered  this  numerous  and  powerful  tribe  into  a  post 
of  danger,  as  best  able  to  deal  with  those  vexatious 
neighbours  the  Philistines,  and  so  it  was  found  in 
Samson.  Here  is, 

1.  An  account  of  what  fell  to  this  tribe  by  lot: 
Zorah,  and  Eshtaol,  and  the  camp  of  Dan  there¬ 
abouts,  we  read  of  in  the  story  of  Samson.  And 
near  there  was  the  vallev  of  Eshcol,  whence  the 
spies  brought  the  famous  bunch  of  grapes.  Japho, 
or  Joppa,  was  in  this  lot. 

2.  An  account  of  what  they  got  by  their  own  in¬ 
dustry  and  valour,  which  is  mentioned  here,  v.  47. 
but  related  at  large,  Judg.  18.  7, 

49.  When  they  had  made  an  end  of  di¬ 
viding  the  land  for  inheritance  by  their 
coasts,  the  children  of  Israel  gave  an  inhe¬ 
ritance  to  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun  among 
them :  50.  According  to  the  word  of  the 

Lord,  they  gave  him  the  city  which 
he  asked,  even  Timnath-serah  in  mount 
Ephraim :  and  he  built  the  city,  and  dwelt 
therein.  51.  These  are  the  inheritances 
which  Eleazar  the  priest,  and  Joshua  the 
son  of  Nun,  and  the  heads  of  the  fathers  of 
the  tribes  of  the  children  of  Israel,  divided 
for  an  inheritance  by  lot  in  Shiloh  before  the 
Lord,  at  the  door  of  the  tabernacle  of  the 
congregation.  So  they  made  an  end  of  di¬ 
viding  the  country. 

Before  this  account  of  the  dividing  of  the  land  is 
solemnly  closed  up,  in  the  last  verse,  which  inti¬ 
mates  that  the  thing  was  done  to  the  satisfaction  of 
all,  here  is  an  account  of  the  particular  inheritance 
assigned  to  Joshua. 

1.  He  was  last  served,  though  the  eldest  and 
greatest  man  of  all  Israel,  and  who,  having  com¬ 
manded  in  the  conquest  of  Canaan,  might  have  de¬ 
manded  the  first  settlement  in  it  for  himself  and  his 
family.  But  he  would  make  it  appear  that  in  all  he 
did,  he  sought  the  good  of  his  country,  and  not  any 
private  interest  of  his  own.  He  was  content  to  be 
unfixed  till  he  saw  them  all  placed;  and  herein  is  a 
great  example  to  all  in  public  places,  to  prefer  the 
common  welfare  before  their  particular  satisfaction. 
Let  the  public  first  be  served. 

2.  He  had  his  lot  according  unto  the  word  of  the 
Lord;  it  is  probable,  when  God  by  Moses  tola  Ca¬ 
leb  what  inheritance  he  should  have,  Josh.  14.  9.  he 


gave  the  like  promise  to  Joshua,  which  he  had  an 
eye  to  in  making  his  election,  which  made  his  por¬ 
tion  doubly  pleasant,  that  he  had  it,  not  as  the  rest, 
by  common  pro\  idence,  but  by  special  promise. 

3.  He  chose  it  in  mount  Ephraim,  which  belong¬ 
ed  to  his  own  tribe,  with  which  he  thereby  put  him¬ 
self  in  common,  when  he  might  by  prerogath  e  have 
chosen  his  inheritance  in  some  other  tribe,  as  sup¬ 
pose  that  of  Judah,  and  thereby  have  distinguished 
himself  from  them.  Let  no  man’s  preferment  or 
honour  make  him  ashamed  of  his  family  or  country, 
or  estrange  him  from  it.  The  tabernacle  was  set 
up  in  the  lot  of  Ephraim,  and  Joshua  would  forecast 
not  to  be  far  from  that. 

4.  The  children  of  Israel  are  said  to  give  it  him , 
v.  49.  which  bespeaks  his  humility,  that  he  would 
not  take  it  to  himself  without  the  people’s  consent 
and  approbation,  as  if  he  would  thereby  own  him¬ 
self,  though  major  singulis — greater  than  any  one, 
yet  minor  unrversis — less  than  the  whole  assem¬ 
blage,  and  would  hold  even  the  estate  cf  his  family, 
under  God,  by  the  grant  of  the  people. 

5.  It  was  a  city  that  must  be  built  before  it  was 
fit  to  be  dwelt  in:  while  others  dwelt  in  houses 
which  they  builded  not,  Joshua  must  build  for  him¬ 
self,  that  he  might  be  a  pattern  of  industry  and  con¬ 
tentment  with  mean  things,  such  buildings  as  he 
could  hastily  run  up,  without  curiosity  or  magnifi¬ 
cence.  Our  Lord  Jesus  thus  came  and  dwelt  among 
us,  not  in  pomp  but  poverty,  providing  rest  for  us, 
yet  himself  not  having  where  to  lay  his  head.  Even 
Christ  pleased  not  himself. 

CHAP.  XX. 

This  short  chapter  is  concerning  the  cities  of  refuge,  which 
we  often  read  of  in  the  writings  of  Moses,  but  this  is  the 
last  time  that  we  find  mention  of  them,  for  now  that 
matter  was  thoroughly  settled.  Here  is,  I.  The  law 
God  gave  concerning  them,  V.1..6.  II.  The  people's 
designation  of  the  particular  cities  for  that  use,  v.  7-  .9. 
And  this  remedial  law  was  a  figure  of  goM  things  to 
come. 

1.  7 1  TIE  Lord  also  spake  unto  Joshua 
JL  saying,  2.  Speak  to  the  children  of 
Israel,  saying,  Appoint  out  for  you  cities  of 
refuge,  whereof  1  spake  unto  you  by  the 
hand  of  Moses:  3.  That  the  slayer  that 
killeth  any  person  unawares  and  unwitting¬ 
ly  may  flee  thither :  and  they  shall  be  your 
refuge  from  the  aveiger  of  blood.  4.  And 
when  he  that  doth  flee  unto  one  of  those  ci¬ 
ties  shall  stand  at  the  entering  of  the  gate  of 
the  city,  and  shall  declare  his  cause  in  the 
ears  of  the  elders  of  that  city,  they  shall 
take  him  into  the  city  unto  them,  and  give 
him  a  place,  that  he  may  dwell  among 
them.  5.  And  if  the  avenger  of  blood  pur¬ 
sue  after  him,  then  they  shall  not  deliver 
the  slayer  up  into  his  hand;  because  he 
smote  his  neighbour  unwittingly,  and  hated 
him  not  beforetime.  6.  And  he  shall  dwell 
in  that  city,  until  he  stand  before  the  con¬ 
gregation  for  judgment,  and  until  the  death 
of  the  high  priest  that  shall  be  in  those  days: 
then  shall  the  slayer  return,  and  come  unto 
his  own  city,  and  unto  his  own  house,  unto 
the  city  from  whence  he  fled. 

Many  things  were  by  the  law  of  Moses  ordered 
to  be  done  when  they  came  to  Canaan,  and  this 


JOSHUA,  XX. 


83 


among  the  rest,  the  appointing  of  sanctuaries  for 
the  protecting  of  those  th  t  were  guilty  of  casual 
murder;  which  was  a  privilege  to  all  Israel,  since 
no  man  could  be  s  ire  but  some  time  or  other  it 
might  be  his  own  case;  and  it  was  for  the  interest 
of  the  land,  that  the  blood  of  an  innocent  person, 
whose  hand  only  was  guilty,  but  not  his  heart, 
should  not  be  shed,  no  not  by  the  avenger  of  blood: 
of  this  law  God  here  reminds  them,  which  was  so 
much  for  their  advantage,  that  they  might  remind 
themselves  of  the  other  laws  he  had  given  them, 
which  concerned  his  honour. 

I.  Orders  are  given  for  the  appointing  of  these 
cities,  v.  2.  and  very  seasonably  at  this  time  when 
the  land  was  surveyed,  and  so  they  were  the  better 
able  to  divide  the  coasts  of  it  into  three  parts,  as 
God  had  directed  them,  in  order  to  the  more  con¬ 
venient  situation  of  these  cities  of  refuge,  Deut.  19. 3. 
Yet,  it  is  probable  that  it  was  not  done  till  after  the 
Levites  had  their  portion  assigned  them  in  the  next 
chapter,  because  the  cities  of  refuge  were  all  to  be 
Levites*  cities.  As  soon  as  ever  God  had  given 
them  cities  of  rest,  he  bade  tnem  appoint  cities  of 
refuge,  to  which  none  cf  them  knew  but  they  might 
be  glad  to  escape.  Thus  God  provided,  not  only  for 
their  ease  at  all  times,  but  for  their  safety  in  time 
of  danger,  and  such  times  we  must  expect  and  pre¬ 
pare  for  in  this  world.  And  it  intimates  what  God’s 
spiritual  Israel  have,  and  shall  have  in  Christ  and 
heaven,  not  only  to  repose  themselves  in,  but  refuge 
to  secure  themselves  in.  And  we  cannot  think  these 
cities  of  refuge  would  have  been  so  often  and  so 
much  spoken  of  in  the  law  of  Moses,  and  have  had 
so  much  care  taken  about  them,  (when  the  inten¬ 
tion  of  them  might  have  been  effectually  answered, 
as  it  is  in  our  law,  by  authorising  the  courts  of  judg¬ 
ment  to  protect  and  acquit  the  manslayer  in  all 
those  cases  wherein  he  was  to  have  privilege  of 
sanctuary,)  if  they  were  not  designed  to  typify  the 
relief  which  the  gospel  provides  for  poor  penitent 
sinners,  and  their  protection  from  the  curse  of  the 
law  and  the  wrath  of  God,  in  our  Lord  Jesus,  to 
whom  believers  flee  for  refuge,  Heb.  6.  18.  and  in 
whom  they  are  found ,  Phil.  3.  9.  as  in  a  sanctuary, 
where  they  are  privileged  from  arrests,  and  there  is 
now  no  condemnation  to  them,  Rom.  8.  1. 

II.  Instructions  are  given  for  the  using  of  these 
cities.  The  laws  in  this  matter  we  had  before, 
Numb.  35.  10,  rCfc.  where  they  were  opened  at 
large. 

1.  It  is  supposed  that  a  man  might  possibly  kill 
a  person,  it  may  be,  his  own  child,  ordearest  friend, 
unawares  and  unwittingly,  v.  3.  not  only  whom  he 
hated  not,  but  whom  he  truly  loved,  beforetime,  v. 
5,  for  the  way  of  man  is  not  in  hirhself.  What  rea¬ 
son  have  we  to  thank  God  who  has  kept  us  both 
from  slaying,  and  from  being  slain  by  accident! 
In  this  case,  it  is  supposed  that  the  relations  of 
the  person  slain  would  demand  the  life  of  the 
slayer,  as  a  satisfaction  to  that  ancient  law,  that 
who  sheds  man’s  blood,  by  man  shall  his  blood  be 
shed. 

2.  It  is  provided,  that  if  upon  trial  it  appeared, 
that  the  murder  was  done  purely  by  accident,  and 
not  by  design,  either  upon  an  old  grudge,  or  a  sud¬ 
den  passion,  then  the  slayer  should  be  sheltered 
from  the  avenger  of  blood  in  any  one  of  these  cities, 
v.  4,  6.  By  this  law  he  was  entitled  to  a  dwelling 
in  that  city,  was  taken  into  the  care  of  the  govern¬ 
ment  of  it,  but  was  confined  to  it,  as  a  prisoner  at 
large;  only  if  he  survived  the  High  Priest,  then, 
and  not  till  then,  he  might  return  to  his  own  city. 
And  the  Jews  say,  “If  he  died  before  the  High 
Priest  in  the  city  of  his  refuge  and  exile,  and  was 
buried  there,  yet  at  the  death  of  the  High  Priest, 
his  bones  should  be.  removed  with  respect  to  the 
place  of  his  fathers’  sepulchres.” 


7.  And  they  appointed  lvedesh  in  Galilee 
in  mount  Naphtali,  and  Shechem  in  mount 
Ephraim,  and  Kiijath-arba  (which  is  He¬ 
bron,)  in  the  mountain  of  Judah.  8.  And 
on  the  other  side  Jordan  by  Jericho  east¬ 
ward,  they  assigned  Bezer  in  the  wilderness 
upon  the  plain  out  of  the  tribe  of  Reuben, 
and  Ramoth  in  Gilead  out  of  the  tribe  of 
Gad,  and  Golan  in  Bashan  out  of  the  tribe 
|  of  Manasseh.  9.  These  were  the  cities  ap¬ 
pointed  for  all  the  children  of  Israel,  and 
j  lor  the  stranger  that  sojourneth  among  them, 

|  that  whosoever  killeth  any  person  at  un- 
|  a  wares  might  flee  thither,  and  not  die  by 
>  the  hand  of  the  avenger  of  blood,  until  he 
stood  before  the  congregation. 

We  have  here  the  nomination  of  the  cities  of  re¬ 
fuge  in  the  land  of  Canaan,  which  was  made  by  the 
advice  and  authority  of  Joshua  and  the  princes,  v. 
7.  and  upon  occasion  of  the  mention  of  this,  is  re¬ 
peated  the  nomination  of  the  other  three  in  the  lot 
of  the  other  two  tribes  and  a  half,  which  was  made 
by  Moses,  Deut.  4.  43.  but  (as  Bishop  Patrick 
thinks)  they  had  not  the  privilege  till  now. 

1.  They  are  said  to  sanctify  these  cities,  that  is 
the  original  word  for  appointed,  v.  7.  Not  that  anv 
ceremony  was  used  to  signify  the  consecration  c’f 
them,  only  they  did  by  a  public  act  of  court  solemn¬ 
ly  declare  them  cities  of  refuge;  and,  as  such,  sa¬ 
cred  to  the  honour  of  God,  as  the  protector  of  ex¬ 
posed  innocency.  If  they  were  sanctuaries,  it  was 
proper  to  say,  they  were  sanctified.  Christ,  our 
Refuge,  was  sanctified  by  his  Father;  nay,  for  our 
sakes  he  sanctified  himself,  John  17.  19. 

2.  These  cities  (as  those  also  on  the  other  side 
Jordan)  stood  in  the  three  several  parts  of  the  coun¬ 
try,  so  conveniently  that  a  man  might  (they  say)  in 
half  a  day  reach  some  one  of  them  from  any  corner 
of  the  country.  Kedesh  w-as  in  Naphtali,  the  mosi 
northern  tribe,  Hebron  in  Judah,  the  most  southern, 
and  Shechem  in  Ephraim,  which  lay  in  the  mid¬ 
dle,  about  equally  distant  from  the  other  two.  God 
is  a  refuge  at  hand. 

3.  They  were  all  Levites’  cities,  which  put  an 
honour  upon  God’s  tribe,  making  them  judges  in 
those  cases  wherein  divine  providence  was  so  nearly 
concerned,  and  protectors  to  oppressed  innocency; 
it  was  also  a  kindness  to  the  poor  refugee,  that 
when  he  might  not  go  up  to  the  house  of  the  Lord, 
nor  tread  his  courts,  yet  he  had  the  servants  of 
God’s  house  with  him,  to  instruct  him,  and  pray 
for  him,  and  help  to  make  up  the  want  of  public 
ordinances.  If  he  must  be  confined,  it  shall  be  to 
a  Levite-city,  where  he  may,  if  he  will,  improve 
his  time. 

4.  These  cities  were  upon  hills  to  be  seen  afar 
off,  for  a  city  on  a  hill  cannot  be  hid;  and  this  would 
both  direct  and  encourage  the  poor  distressed  man 
that  was  making  that  way;  and  though  therefore 
his  way  at  last  was  up-hill,  yet  this  would  comfort 
him,  that  he  would  be  in  his  place  of  safety  quick¬ 
ly;  and  if  he  could  but  get  into  the  suburbs  of  the 
city,  he  was  well  enough  off. 

5.  Some  observe  a  significancy  in  the  names  of 
these  cities  with  application  to  Christ  our  Refuge. 

I  delight  not  in  quibbling  upon  names,  yet  am  wall¬ 
ing  to  take  notice  of  these.  Kedesh  signifies  holy, 
and  our  refuge  is  the  holy  Jesus.  Shechem,  a  shoul¬ 
der,  and  the  government  is  upon  his  shoulder.  He¬ 
bron,  fellowship,  and  believers  are  called  into  the 
fellowship  of  Christ  Jesus  our  Lord.  Bezer,  a  for¬ 
tification,  for  he  is  a  Strong-hold  to  all  them  that 


84  JOSHUA,  XXI. 


trust  in  him.  llamath,  high  or  exalted ,  for  him 
hath  God  exalted  wkli  his  own  right  hand.  Golan, 
joy  or  exultation,  for  in  him  all  the  saints  are  justi¬ 
fied,  and  shall  glory. 

Lastly,  Beside  all  these,  the  horns  of  the  altar, 
wherever  it  was,  were  a  refuge  to  those  who  took 
hold  on  them,  if  the  crime  were  such  as  that  sanc¬ 
tuary  allowed.  This  is  implied  in  that  law,  Exod. 
21.  14,  that  a  wilful  murderer  shall  be  taken  from 
God’s  altar  and  be  put  to  death.  And  we  find  the 
altar  used  for  this  purpose,  1  Kings  1.  50. — 2.  28. 
Christ  is  our  Altar,  who  not  only  sanctifies  the  gifts, 
but  protects  the  giver. 

CHAP.  XXI. 

It  had  been  often  said  that  the  tribe  of  Levi  should  have 
no  inheritance  with  their  brethren,  no  particular  part  of 
the  country  assigned  them,  as  the  other  tribes  had,  no 
not  the  country  about  Shiloh,  which,  one  would  have 
expected,  should  have  been  appropriated  to  them  as  the 
lands  of  the  church;  but  though  they  were  not  thus  cast 
into  a  country  by  themselves,  it  appears,  by  the  provision 
made  for  them  in  this  chapter,  that  they  were  no  losers, 
but  the  rest  of  the  tribes  were  very  much  gainers,  by 
their  being  dispersed.  We  have  here,  I.  The  motion  they 
made  to  have  their  cities  assigned  them,  according  to 
God’s  appointment,  v.  1,  2.  II.  The  nomination  of  the 
cities  accordingly,  out  of  the  several  tribes,  and  the  dis¬ 
tribution  of  them  to  the  respective  families  of  this  tribe, 
v.  3. .  8.  III.  A  catalogue  of  the  cities,  forty-eight  in 
all,  v.  9..  42.  IV.  A  receipt  entered  in  full  of  all  that 
God  had  promised  to  his  people  Israel,  v.  43..  45. 

HEN  came  near  the  heads  of  the 
fathers  of  the  Levites  unto  Eleazar 
t  he  priest,  and  unto  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun, 
and  unto  the  heads  of  the  fathers  of  the 
tribes  of  the  children  of  Israel ;  2.  And 

they  spake  unto  them  at  Shiloh  in  the  land 
of  Canaan,  saying,  The  Lord  commanded 
by  the  hand  of  Moses  to  give  us  cities  to 
dwell  in,  with  the  suburbs  thereof  for  our 
cattle.  3.  And  the  children  of  Israel  gave 
unto  the  Levites  out  of  their  inheritance,  at 
the  commandment  of  the  Lord,  these  cities 
and  their  suburbs.  4.  And  the  lot  came 
out  for  the  families  of  the  Kohathites :  and 
the  children  of  Aaron  the  priest,  which  were 
of  the  Levites,  had  by  lot,  out  of  the  tribe 
of  Judah,  and  out  of  the  tribe  of  Simeon, 
and  out  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin,  thirteen 
cities.  5.  And  the  rest  of  the  children  of 
Kohath  had  by  lot,  out  of  the  families  of  the 
tribe  of  Ephraim,  and  out  of  the  tribe  of 
Dan,  and  out  of  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh, 
ten  cities.  6.  And  the  children  of  Gershon 
had  by  lot,  out  of  the  families  of  the  tribe 
of  Issachar,  and  out  of  the  tribe  of  Asher, 
and  out  of  the  tribe  of  Naphtali,  and  out  of 
the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh  in  Bashan,  thir¬ 
teen  cities.  7.  The  children  of  Merari,  by 
their  families,  had,  out  of  the  tribe  of  Reu¬ 
ben,  and  out  of  the  tribe  of  Gad,  and  out  of 
the  tribe  of  Zebulun,  twelve  cities.  8.  And 
the  children  of  Israel  gave  by  lot  unto  the 
Levites  these  cities  with  their  suburbs,  as 
the  Lord  commanded  by  the  hand  of 
Moses. 

Here  is, 

I.  The  Levites’  petition  presented  to  this  general 


convention  of  the  states,  now  sitting  at  Shiloh,  v . 
1,  2.  Observe, 

1.  They  had  not  their  lot  assigned  them  till  they 
made  their  claim.  There  is  an  inheritance  pro¬ 
vided  for  all  the  saints,  that  royal  priesthood,  but 
then  they  must  petition  for  it,  Ask,  and  it  shall  be 
given  you.  Joshua  had  quickened  the  rest  of  the 
tribes  who  were  slack,  to  put  in  their  claims,  but 
the  Levites,  it  may  be  supposed,  knew  their  duty 
and  interest  better  than  the  rest,  and  were  there¬ 
fore  forward  in  this  matter,  when  it  came  to  their 
turn,  without  being  called  upon.  They  build  their 
claim  upon  a  very  good  foundation,  not  their  own 
merits  or  services,  but  the  divine  precept.  “  The 
Lord  commanded  by  the  hand  of  Moses  to  give  us 
cities,  commanded  you  to  grant  them,  which  im¬ 
plied  a  command  to  us  to  ask  them.”  Note,  The 
maintenance  of  ministers  is  not  an  arbitrary  thing, 
left  purely  to  the  good-will  cf  the  people,  who  may 
let  them  starve  if  they  please;  no,  as  the  God  of  Is¬ 
rael  commanded  that  the  Levites  should  be  well 
provided  for,  so  has  the  Lord  Jesus,  the  King  of 
the  Christian  church,  ordained,  and  a  peYpetual  or¬ 
dinance  it  is,  that  they  which  preach  the  gospel, 
should  live  of  the  gospel,  1.  Cor.  9.  14.  and  should 
live  comfortably. 

2.  They  did  not  make  their  claim  till  all  the  rest 
of  the  tribes  were  provided  for,  and  then  they  did  it 
immediately.  There  was  some  reason  for  it:  every 
tribe  must  first  know  their  own,  else  they  would 
not  know  what  they  gave  the  Levites,  and  so  it 
could  not  be  such  a  reasonable  service  as  it  ought 
to  be.  But  it  is  also  an  instance  of  their  humility, 
modesty,  and  patience,  (and  Levites  should  be  ex¬ 
amples  cf  these  and  other  virtues,)  that  they  were 
willing  to  be  served  last,  and  they  fared  never  the 
worse  for  it.  Let  not  God’s  ministers  complain  if 
at  any  time  they  find  themselves  postponed  in  men’s 
thoughts  and  cares,  but  let  them  make  sure  of  the 
favour  of  God,  and  the  honour  that  comes  from 
him,  and  then  they  may  well  enough  afford  to  bear 
the  slights  and  neglects  of  men. 

II.  The  Levites’  petition  granted  immediately, 
without  any  dispute,  the  princes  of  Israel  being  per¬ 
haps  ashamed  that  they  needed  to  be  called  upon 
in  this  matter,  and  that  the  motion  had  not  been 
made  among  themselves  for  the  settling  of  the  Le¬ 
vites. 

1.  The  children  of  Israel  are  said  to  give  the  ci¬ 
ties  for  the  Levites.  God  had  appointed  how  many 
they  should  be  in  all,  forty-eight.  It  is  probable 
that  Joshua,  and  the  princes,  upon  consideration,  of 
the  extent  and  value  of  the  lot  of  each  tribe  as  it 
was  laid  before  them,  had  appointed  how  many  ci  • 
ties  should  be  taken  out  of  each;  and  then  the  fa¬ 
thers  of  the  several  tribes  themselves  agreed  which 
they  should  be,  and  therefore  are  said  to  give  them 
as  an  offering,  to  the  Lord;  so  God  had  appointed. 
Numb.  35.  8,  Every  one  shall  give  of  his  cities  to 
the  Levites.  Here  God  tried  their  generosity,  and 
it  was  found  to  praise  and  honour,  for  it  appears  by 
the  following  catalogue,  that  the  cities  they  gave  to 
the  Levites,  were  generally  some  of  the  best  and 
most  considerable  in  each  tribe.  And  it  is  probable, 
that  they  had  an  eye  to  the  situation  of  them,  taking 
care  they  should  be  so  dispersed,  as  that  no  part  of 
the  country  should  be  too  far  distant  from  a  Levites’ 
city. 

2.  They  gave  them  at  the  comir.andment  of  tin. 
Lord,  that  is,  with  an  eye  to  the  command,  and  in 
obedience  to  it,  which  was  it  that  sanctified  the 
grant.  They  gave  the  number  that  God  command¬ 
ed,  and  it  was  well  that  matter  was  settled,  that  the 
Levites  might  not  ask  more,  nor  the  Israelites  offer 
less.  They  gave  them  also  with  their  suburbs,  or 
glebe-lands,  belonging  to  them,  so  many  cubits  by 
measure  from  the  walls  of  the  city,  as  God  had 


86 


JOSHUA.  XXL 


commanded,  Numb.  35.  4,  5.  and  did  not  go  about 
to  cut  them  short. 

3.  When  the  forty-eight  cities  were  pitched  upon, 
they  were  divided  into  four  lots,  as  they  lay  next 
together,  and  then  by  lot  were  determined  to  the 
four  several  families  of  the  tribe  of  Levi.  When 
the  Israelites  had  surrendered  the  cities  into  the 
hand  of  God,  he  would  himself  have  the  distributing 
of  them  among  his  servants.  (1.)  The  family  of 
Aaron,  who  were  the  only  priests,  had  to  their 
share  the  thirteen  cities  that  were  given  by  the 
tribes  of  Judah,  Simeon,  and  Benjamin,  v.  4.  God 
in  wisdom  ordered  it  thus,  that  though  Jerusalem 
itself  was  not  one  of  their  cities,  it  being  as  yet  in 
the  possession  of  the  Jebiisites,  (and  those  generous 
tribes  would  not  mock  the  Levites  who  had  an¬ 
other  warfare  to  mind,  with  a  city  that  must  be  re¬ 
covered  by  the  sword  before  it  could  be  enjoyed,) 
yet  the  cities  that  fell  to  their  lot  were  those  which 
lay  next  to  Jerusalem,  because  that  was  to  be  in 
process  of  time,  the  holy  cit^,  where  their  business 
would  chiefly  lie.  (2.)  The  Kohathite  Levites 
(among  whom  were  the  posterity  of  Moses,  though 
never  distinguished  from  them)  had  the  cities  that 
lay  in  the  lot  of  Dan,  which  lay  next  to  Judah,  and 
in' that  of  Ephraim,  and  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh, 
which  lay  next  to  Benjamin.  So  they  who  descend¬ 
ed  from  Aaron’s  father,  joined  nearest  to  Aaron’s 
s  ns.  (3. )  Gershcn  was  the  eldest  son  of  Levi,  and 
therefore,  though  the  younger  house  of  the  Kohath- 
ites  was  preferred  before  his,  yet  his  children  had 
the  precedency  of  the  other  family  of  Merari,  v.  6. 
(4. )  The  Merarites,  the  youngest  house,  had  their 
lot  last,  and  it  lay  furthest  off,  v.  7.  The  rest  of 
the  sons  of  Jacob  had  a  lot  for  every  tribe  only,  but 
Levi,  God’s  tribe,  had  a  lot  for  each  of  its  families; 
for  there  is  a  particular  providence  directing  and  at¬ 
tending  the  removes  and  settlements  of  ministers, 
and  appointing  where  they  shall  fix,  who  are  to  be 
the  lights  of  the  world. 

9.  And  they  gave  out  of  the  tribe  of  the 
children  of  Judah,  and  out  of  the  tribe  of  the 
children  of  Simeon,  these  cities  which  are 
here  mentioned  by  name,  10.  Which  the 
children  of  Aaron,  being  of  the  families  of 
the  Kohathites,  who  were  of  the  children  of 
Levi,  had  :  for  theirs  was  the  first  lot.  11. 
And  they  gave  them  the  city  of  Arba,  the 
father  of  Anak,  (which  city  is  Hebron,)  in 
the  hill-cozm/r?/  of  Judah,  with  the  suburbs 
thereof  round  about  it.  12.  But  the  fields 
of  the  city,  and  the  villages  thereof,  gave 
they  to  Caleb  the  son  of  Jephunneh  for  his 
possession.  13.  Thus  they  gave  to  the 
children  of  Aaron  the  priest,  Hebron  with 
her  suburbs,  to  be  a  city  of  refuge  for  the 
slayer;  and  Libnah  with  her  suburbs,  14. 
And  Jattir  with  her  suburbs,  and  Eshtemoa 
with  her  suburbs,  1 5.  And  Holon  with  her 
suburbs,  and  Debir  with  her  suburbs,  16. 
And  Ain  with  her  suburbs,  and  Juttah  with 
her  suburbs,  and  Beth-shemesh  with  her 
suburbs ;  nine  cities  out  of  those  two  tribes. 

1 7.  And  out  of  the  tribe  of  Benjamin,  Gibe- 
on  with  her  suburbs,  Geba  with  her  suburbs, 

18.  Anathoth  with  her  suburbs,  and  Almon 
with  her  suburbs;  four  cities.  19.  All  the 
cities  of  the  children  of  Aaron  the  priests, 


were  thirteen  cities  with  their  suburbs.  20 
And  the  families  of  the  children  of  Kohath 
the  Levites  which  remained  of  the  children 
of  Kohath,  even  they  had  the  cities  of  their 
lot  out  of  the  tribe  of  Ephraim.  21.  For 
they  gave  them  Shechem  with  her  suburbs 
in  mount  Ephraim,  to  be  a  city  of  refuge  for 
the  slayer;  and  Gezer  with  her  suburbs, 

22.  And  Kibzaim  with  her  suburbs,  and 
Beth-horon  with  her  suburbs ;  four  cities. 

23.  And  out  of  the  tribe  of  Dan,  Eltekeh 
with  her  suburbs,  Gibbethon  with  her  sub¬ 
urbs,  24.  Ajalon  with  her  suburbs,  Gatli- 
rirmnon  with  her  suburbs  ;  four  cities.  26. 
And  out  of  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh,  Taa- 
nach  with  her  suburbs,  and  Gath-rimmon 
with  her  suburbs  ;  tw^o  cities.  26.  All  the 
cities  were  ten,  with  their  suburbs,  for  the 
families  of  the  children  of  Kohath  that  re¬ 
mained.  27.  And  unto  the  children  of 
Gershon,  of  the  families  of  the  Levites,  out 
of  the  other  half  tribe  of  Manasseh,  they 
gave  Golan  in  Bashan  with  her  suburbs,  to 
be  a  city  of  refuge  for  the  slayer ;  and  Beesh- 
terali  with  her  suburbs;  two  cities.  28. 
And  out  of  the  tribe  of  Issachar,  Kishon 
with  her  suburbs,  Dabareh  with  her  suburbs, 
29.  Jarmuth  with  her  suburbs,  En-gannim 
with  her  suburbs ;  four  cities.  30.  And 
out  of  the  tribe  of  Asher,  Mishal  with  her 
suburbs,  Abdon  with  her  suburbs,  31.  Hel- 
kath  with  her  suburbs,  and  Rehob  with  her 
suburbs ;  four  cities.  32.  And  out  of  the 
tribe  of  Naphtali,  Kedesh  in  Galilee  with 
her  suburbs,  to  be  a  city  of  refuge  for  the. 
slayer ;  and  Hammoth-dor  with  her  suburbs, 
and  Kartan  with  her  suburbs;  three  cities. 
33.  All  the  cities  of  the  Gershonites,  accord¬ 
ing  to  their  families,  were  thirteen  cities  with 
their  suburbs.  34.  And  unto  the  families 
of  the  children  of  Merari,  the  rest  of  the  Le¬ 
vites,  out  of  the  tribe  of  Zebulun,  Jokneam 
with  her  suburbs,  and  Kartah  with  her 
suburbs,  35.  Dimnah  with  her  suburbs, 
Nahalal  w  ith  her  suburbs ;  four  cities.  36. 
And  out  of  the  tribe  of  Reuben,  Bezer  with 
her  suburbs,  and  Jahazah  with  her  suburbs. 
37.  Kedemoth  with  her  suburbs,  and  Me- 
phaath  with  her  suburbs  ;  four  cities.  38. 
And  out  of  the  tribe  of  Gad,  Ramoth  in 
Gilead  with  her  suburbs,  to  be  a  city  of  re¬ 
fuge  for  the  slayer ;  and  Mahanaim  with 
her  suburbs,  39.  Heshbon  with  her  suburbs, 
Jazer  with  her  suburbs;  four  cities  in  all. 
40.  So  all  the  cities  for  the  children  of  Me¬ 
rari,  by  their  families,  which  were  remain¬ 
ing  of  the  families  of  the  Levites,  were,  by 
their  lot,  twelve  cities.  41.  All  the  cities 
of  the  Levites  within  the  possession  of  the 
children  of  Israel  were  forty  and  eight  cities 


86 


with  their  suburbs.  42.  These  cities  were 
every  one  with  their  suburbs  round  about 
them :  thus  were  all  these  cities. 

We  have  here  a  particular  account  of  the  cities 
which  were  given  to  the  children  of  Levi,  out  of  the 
several  tribes,  not  only  to  be  occupied  and  inha¬ 
bited  by  them,  as  tenants  to  the  several  tribes  in 
which  they  lay;  no,  their  interest  in  them  was  not 
dependent  and  precarious,  but  to  be  owned  and 
possessed  by  them  as  lords  and  proprietors,  and  as 
having  the  same  title  to  them  that  the  rest  of  the 
ti  ibes  had  to  their  cities  or  lands,  as  appears  by  the 
law  which  presen  ed  the  houses  in  the  Levites’  ci¬ 
ties  from  being  alienated  any  longer  than  till  the 
year  of  jubilee,  Lev.  25.  32,  33.  \  et  it  is  probable, 
that  the  Levites  having  only  the  cities  and  suburbs, 
while  the  land  about  pertained  to  the  tribes  in 
which  they  lay,  those  of  that  tribe,  for  the  conve¬ 
nience  of  occupying  that  land,  might  commonly  rent 
houses  of  the  Levites,  as  they  could  spare  them 
in  their  cities,  and  so  live  among  them  as  their 
tenants. 

Several  things  may  be  observed  in  this  account, 
beside  what  was  observed  in  the  law  concerning  it, 
Numb.  35. 

1.  That  the  Levites  were  dispersed  into  all  the 
tribes,  and  not  suffered  to  live  ail  together  in  any¬ 
one  part  of  the  country:  this  would  find  them  all 
with  work,  and  employ  them  all  for  the  good  of 
.  thers;  for  ministers,  of  all  people,  must  neither  be 
idle,  nor  live  to  themselves,  or  to  one  another  only. 
Christ  left  his  twelve  disciples  together  in  a  body, 
but  left  orders  that  they  should  in  due  time  disperse 
themselves,  that  they '  might  preach  the  gospel  to 
n’ery  creature.  The  mixing  of  the  Levites  thus 
with  the  other  tribes,  would  be  an  obligation  upon 
them  to  walk  circumspectly,  and  as  became  their 
sacred  function,  and  to  avoid  every  thing  that  might 
disgrace  it;  had  they  lived  all  together,  they  would 
have  been  tempted  to  wink  at  one  another’s  faults, 
and  to  excuse  one  another  when  they  did  amiss;  but 
by  this  means  they  were  made  to  see  the  eyes  of  all 
Israel  upon  them,  and  therefore  saw  it  their  con¬ 
cern  to  walk  so  as  that  their  ministry  might  in  no¬ 
thing  be  blamed,  nor  their  high  character  suffer  by 
their  ill  carriage. 

2.  That  every  tribe  of  Israel  was  adorned  and 
enriched  with  its  share  of  Levites’  cities,  in  propor¬ 
tion  to  its  compass,  even  those  that  lay  most  remote. 
They  were  all  God’s  people,  and  therefore  they  all 
had  Levites  among  them.  (1.)  To  show  kindness 
to,  as  God  appointed  them,  Lieut.  12.  19. — 14.  29. 
They  were  God’s  r  ceivers,  to  whom  the  people 
might  give  their  grateful  acknowledgments  of  God’s 
goodness,  as  the  occasion  and  disposition  were.  (2.) 
To  receive  advice  and  instruction  from;  when  they 
could  not  go  up  to  the  tabernacle  to  consult  those 
who  attended  there,  they  might  ro  to  a  Levites’ 
city,  and  be  taught  the  good  knowledge  of  the  Lord. 
Thus  God  set  up  a  candle  in  every  room  of  his 
house,  to  give  light  to  all  his  family;  as  those  that 
attended  the  altar,  kept  the  charge  of  the  Lord,  to 
see  that  no  divine  appointment  was  neglected  there; 
so  they  that  were  scattered  in  the  country,  had 
their  charge  too,  which  was  to  see  that  no  idolatrous 
superstitious  usages  were  introduced  at  a  distance, 
and  to  watch  for  the  souls  of  God’s  Israel.  Thus 
did  God  graciously  pro\  ide  for  the  keeping  up  of 
religion  among  them,  and  that  they  might  have  the 
word  nigh  them;  yet,  blessed  be  God,  we  under  the 
Gospel,  have  it  yet  nigher,  not  only  Levites  in  every 
county,  but  Lev  ites  in  every  parish,  whose  office  it 
is  still  to  teach  the  pe  pie  knowledge,  and  to  go  be¬ 
fore  them  in  the  things  of  God. 

3.  That  here  were  thirteen  cities,  and  these  some 
of  the  best,  appointed  for  the  priests,  the  sons  of 


\,  XXI. 

Aaron,  v.  19.  Aaron  left  but  two  sons,  Eleaz  ir  and 
Ithamar,  yet  his  family  was  now  so  much  increased, 
and  it  was  foreseen  that  it  would  in  process  of  time 
grow  so  numerous,  as  to  replenish  all  these  cities; 
thoi  gh  a  considerable  number  must  of  necessity  be 
resident  wherever  the  ark  and  the  altar  were.  We 
read  in  both  Testaments  of  such  numbers  of  priests, 
that  we  may  suppose  none  of  all  the  families  of  Is¬ 
rael  that  came  out  of  Egypt,  increased  afterward  so 
much  as  that  of  Aaron  did;  and  the  premise  after¬ 
ward  to  the  house  of  Aaron,  is,  God  shall  increase 
you  more  and  more,  you  and  your  children,  Ps. 
115.  12,  14.  He  will  raise  up  a  seed  to  serve  him. 

4.  That  some  of  the  Levites’  cities  were  after¬ 
ward  famous  upon  other  accounts.  Hebron  was 
the  city  in  which  David  began  his  reign,  and  in 
Mahanaim,  another  Levites’ city,  v.  38.  he  lay,  and 
had  his  head-quarters  when  he  fled  from  Absalom. 
The  first  Israelite  that  ever  wore  the  title  cf  king, 
namely,  Abimelech,  the  sen  of  Gideon,  reigned  in 
Schechem,  another  Levites’  city,  xc  21. 

5.  That  the  number  of  them  in  all  was  more  than 
of  most  of  the  tribes,  except  Judah,  though  the 
tribe  of  Levi  was  one  of  the  least  of  the  tribes,  to 
show  how  liberal  God  is,  and  his  people  should  be, 
to  his  ministers;  yet  the  disproportion  will  not  ap¬ 
pear  so  great  as  at  first  it  seems,  if  we  consider  that 
the  Levites  had  cities,  only  with  the  suburbs  to 
dwell  in,  but  the  rest  of  the  tribes,  beside  their  ci¬ 
ties,  (and  those  perhaps  were  many  more  than  <; 
named  in  the  account  of  their  lot,)  hadmany  i.;.- 
walled  towns  and  villages  which  they  inhabited, 
beside  country-houses. 

LTpon  the  whole,  it  appears  that  effectual  care 
was  taken,  that  the  Levites  should  live  both  com¬ 
fortably  and  usefully;  and  those,  whether  ministers 
or  others,  for  whom  Providence  has  done  well, 
must  look  upon  themselves  as  obliged  thereby  to  do 
good,  and,  according  as  their  capacity  and  oppor¬ 
tunity  are,  to  serve  their  generation. 

43.  And  the  Lord  gave  unto  Israel  all 
the  land  which  he  sware  to  give  unto  their 
fathers;  and  they  possessed  it,  and  dwelt 
therein.  44.  And  the  Lord  gave  them  rest 
round  about,  according  to  all  that  he  sware 
unto  their  fathers :  and  there  stood  not  a 
man  of  all  their  enemies  before  them ;  the 
Lord  delivered  all  their  enemies  into  their 
hand.  45.  There  failed  not  aught  of  any 
good  thing  which  the  Lord  had  spoken 
unto  the  house  of  Israel ;  all  came  to  pass. 

We  have  here  the  conclusion  of  this  whole  mat¬ 
ter,  the  foregoing  history  summed  up,  and,  to  make 
it  appear  the  more  bright,  compared  with  the  pro¬ 
mise,  of  which  it  was  the  full  accomplishment. 
God’s  word  and  his  works  mutually  illustrate  each 
other.  The  performance  makes  the  promise  ap¬ 
pear  very  true,  and  the  promise  makes  the  per¬ 
formance  appear  very  kind. 

1.  God  had  promised  to  give  the  seed  of  Abraham 
the  land  of  Canaan  for  a  possession,  and  now  at  last 
he  performed  that  promise,  v.  43.  they  possessed  it, 
and  dwelt  therein.  Though  they  had  often  forfeited 
the  benefit  of  that  promise,  and  God  had  long 
delayed  the  performance  of  it,  yet,  at  last,  all 
difficulties  were  conquered,  and  Canaan  was  their 
own.  And  the  promise  of  the  heavenly  Canaan  is 
as  sure  to  all  God’s  spiritual  Israel,  for  it  is  the  pro¬ 
mise  of  him  that  cannot  lie. 

2.  God  had  promised  to  give  them  rest  in  that 
land,  and  now  they  had  rest  round  about.  Rest 
from  the  fatigues  of  their  tra\  el  through  the  wil¬ 
derness,  which  tedious  march,  perhaps,  was  long 


JOSHUA,  XX1J.  8? 


in  their  bones;  rest  from  their  wars  in  Canaan,  and 
the  insults  which  their  enemies  there  had  at  first 
offered  them.  They  now  dwelt,  not  or.ly  in  habita¬ 
tions  of  their  own,  but  those,  quiet  and  peaceable 
ones;  though  therew  ere  Canaanites  that  lemained, 
yet  none  that  had  either  strength  or  spirit  to  attack 
them,  or  so  much  as  to  give  them  an  alarm.  This 
rest  continued,  till  they  by  their  own  sin  and  folly 
put  thorns  into  their- own  beds,  and  their  own  eyes. 

3.  God  had  promised  to  give  them  victory  and 
success  in  their  wars,  and  this  promise  likewise  was 
fulfilled,  there  stood  not  a  man  before  them,  v.  44. 
They  had  the  better  in  every  battle,  and  which  way 
soever  they  turned  their  forces,  they  prospered.  It 
is  true,  there  were  Canaanites  now  remaining  in 
many  parts  of  the  land,  and  such  as  afterward  made 
head  against  them,  and  became  very  formidable. 
But,  (1.)  As  to  the  present  remains  of  the  Canaan¬ 
ites,  they  were  no  contradiction  to  the  promise,  for 
God  had  said  he  would  not  drive  them  out  all  at 
once,  but  by  little  and  little,  Exod.  23.  30.  They 
had  now  as  much  in  their  full  possession  as  they  had 
occasion  for,  and  as  they  had  hands  to  manage;  so 
that  the  Canaanites  only  kept  possession  of  some  of 
the  less  cultivated  parts  of  the  country  against  the 
beasts  of  the  field,  till  Israel,  in  process  of  time, 
should  become  numerous  enough  to  replenish  them, 
(2. )  As  to  the  after-prevalency  of  the  Canaanites, 
that  was  purely  the  effect  of  Israel’s  cowardice  and 
slothfulness,  and  the  punishment  of  their  sinful  in¬ 
clination  to  the  idolatries  and  other  abominations 
of  the  heathen,  which  the  Lord  would  have  cast 
out  before  them,  but  they  harboured  and  indulged 
them. 

So  that  the  foundation  of  God  stands  sure:  Israel’s 
experience  of  God’s  fidelity  is  here  upon  record, 
and  is  an  acquittance  under  their  hands  to  the  ho¬ 
nour  of  God,  the  vindication  of  his  promise  which 
had  been  so  often  distrusted,  and  the  encourage¬ 
ment  of  all  believers  to  the  end  of  the  world.  There 
failed  not  any  good  thing,  no,  nor  aught  of  any 
good  thing,  (so  full  is  it  expressed,)  which  the  Lord 
had  sfxoken  unto  the  house  of  Israel,  but  in  due  time 
all  came  to  pass,  v.  45.  Such  an  acknowledgment 
as  this,  here  subscribed  by  Joshua,  in  the  name  of 
all  Israel,  we  afterward  find  made  by  Solomon,  and 
all  Israel  did  in  effect  say-  amen  to  it,  1  Kings  8.  56. 
The  inviolable  truth  of  God’s  promise,  and  the  per¬ 
formance  of  it  to  the  utmost,  is  what  all  the  saints 
have  been  ready  to  bear  their  testimony  to;  and  if 
in  any  thing  it  has  seemed  to  come  short,  they  have 
been  as  ready  to  own  that  they  themselves  must 
bear  all  the  blame. 

CHAP.  XXII. 

Many  particular  things  we  have  read  concerning  the  two 
tribes  and  a  half,  though  nothing  separated  them  from 
the  rest  of  the  tribes  except  the  river  Jordan,  and  this 
chapter  is  wholly  concerning  them.  I.  Joshua’s  dismis¬ 
sion  of  the  militia  of  those  tribes  from  the  camp  of  Israel, 
in  which  they  had  served  as  auxiliaries  during  all  the 
wars  of  Canaan,  and  their  return  thereupon  to  their  own 
country,  v.  1 .  .9.  II.  The  altar  they  built  on  the  borders 
of  Jordan,  in  token  of  their  communion  with  the  land  of 
Israel,  v.  10.  III.  The  offence  which  the  rest  of  the  tribes 
took  at  this  altar,  and  the  message  they  sent  thereupon, 
v.  11 .  .20.  IV.  The  apology  which  the  two  tribes  and  a 
half  made  for  what  they  had  done,  v.  21.  .29.  V.  The  sa¬ 
tisfaction  which  their  apology  gave  to  the  rest  of  the 
tribes,  v.  30-  .34.  And  (which  is  strange)  whereas  in  most 
differences  that  happen,  there  is  a  fault  on  both  sides,  on 
this  there  Was  fault  on  no  side;  none  (for  aught  that  ap¬ 
pears)  were  to  be  blamed,  but  all  to  be  praised. 

HEN  Joshua  called  the  Reubenites, 
and  the  Gadites,  and  the  half  tribe 
of  Manasseh,  2.  And  said  unto  them,  Ye 
have  kept  all  that  Moses  the  servant  of  the 


Lord  commanded  you,  and  have  obeyed 
my  voice  in  all  that  I  commanded  you :  3 
V  e  have  not  left  your  brethren  these  many 
days  unto  this  day,  but  have  kept  the  charge 
of  the  commandment  of  the  Lord  your 
God.  4.  And  now  the  Lord  your  God 
hath  given  rest  unto  your  brethren,  as  he 
promised  them :  therefore  now  return  ye, 
and  get  you  unto  your  tents,  and  unto  the 
land  ol  your  possession,  which  Moses  the 
servant  ol  the  Lord  gave  yTou  on  the  other 
side  Jordan.  5.  But  take  diligent  heed 
to  do  the  commandment  and  the  law,  which 
Moses  the  servant  of  the  Lord  charged 
you,  to  love  the'  Lord  your  God,  and  to 
walk  in  all  his  ways,  and  to  keep  his  com¬ 
mandments,  and  to  cleave  unto  him,  and  to 
serve  him  with  all  your  heart  and  with  all 
your  soul.  6.  So  Joshua  blessed  them,  and 
sent  them  away:  and  they  went  unto  theii 
tents.  7.  Now,  to  the  o?rehalf  of  the  tribe  ol 
Manasseh  Moses  had  given  possession  in  Ba 
shan;but  untothe  o/Aer  half  thereof  gave  Josh¬ 
ua  among  their  brethren  on  this  side  Jordan 
westward.  And  when  Joshua  sent  them 
away  also  unto  their  tents,  then  he  blessed 
them;  8.  And  he  spake  unto  them,  saying, 
Return  with  much  riches  unto  your  tents, 
and  with  very  much  cattle,  with  silver,  and 
with  gold,  and  with  brass,  and  with  iron, 
and  with  very  much  raiment:  divide  the 
spoil  of  your  enemies  with  your  brethren. 
9.  And  the  children  of  Reuben,  and  the 
children  of  Gad,  and  the  half  tribe  of  Ma¬ 
nasseh,  returned,  and  departed  from  the 
children  of  Israel  out  of  Shiloh,  which  is  in 
the  land  of  Canaan,  to  go  unto  the  country 
of  Gilead,  to  the  land  of  their  possession, 
whereof  they  were  possessed,  according  to 
the  word  of  the  Lord  by  the  hand  ol 
Moses. 

The  war  being  ended,  and  ended  gloriously, 
Joshua,  as  a  prudent  general,  disbands  his  army, 
who  never  designed  to  make  war  their  trade,  and 
sends  them  home  to  enjoy  what  they  had  conquer¬ 
ed,  and  to  beat  their  swords  into  ploughshares,  and 
their  spears  into  pruning-hooks;  and,  particularly, 
the  forces  of  these  separate  tribes,  who  had  receiv¬ 
ed  their  inheritance  on  the  other  side  Jordan  from 
Moses,  upon  this  condition,  that  their  men  of  war 
should  assist  the  other  tribes  in  the  conquest  of  Ca¬ 
naan,  which  they  promised  to  do.  Numb.  32.  32. 
and  renewed  the  promise  of  Joshua  at  the  opening 
of  the  campaign,  Josh.  1.  16.  And  now  that  they 
had  performed  their  bargain,  Joshua  publicly  and 
solemnly  in  Shiloh  gives  them  their  discharge. 
Whether  this  was  done,  as  it  was  placed,  not  till 
after  the  land  was  divided,  as  some  think,  ( r 
whether  after  the  war  was  ended,  and  before  the 
division  was  made,  as  others  think,  (because  there 
was  no  need  of  their  assistance  in  diuding  the  land, 
but  only  in  conquering  it,  nor  were  there  any  of 
their  tribes  employed  as  commissioners  in  that  affair, 
but  only  of  the  other  ten,  Numb.  34.  18,  See.)  this  is 
i  certain,  it  was  not  done  till  after  Shiloh  was  made 


its  JOSHUA,  XXI I. 


the  head-quarters,  v.  2.  and  the  land  was  begun  to 
be  divided  before  thev  removed  from  Gilgal,  ch. 
14.  6. 

It  is  probable  that  this  army  of  Reubenites  and 
Gadites,  which  had  led  the  van  in  all  the  wars  of 
Canaan,  had  sometimes,  in  the  intervals  of  action, 
and  when  the  rest  of  the  army  retired  into  wintei’- 
quarters,  some  of  them,  at  least,  made  a  step  over 
Jordan,  for  it  was  not  far,  to  visit  their  families,  and 
f.i  look  after  their  private  affairs,  and  perhaps  tar¬ 
ried  at  home,  and  sent  others  in  their  room  more 
serviceable;  but  still  these  two  tribes  and  a  half  had 
their  quota  of  troops  ready,  forty  thousand  in  all, 
which,  whenever  there  was  occasion,  rendered 
themselves  at  their  respective  posts,  and  now  at¬ 
tended  in  a  body  to  receive  their  discharge.  Though 
their  affection  to  their  families,  and  concern  for 
their  affairs,  could  not  but  make  them,  after  so  long 
absence,  very  desirous  to  return,  yet,  like  good  sol¬ 
diers,  they  would  not  move  till  they  had  orders 
from  their  general.  So  though  our  heavenly  Fa¬ 
ther’s  house  above  be  never  so  desirable,  (it  is 
Bishop  Hall’s  allusion,)  yet  must  we  stay  on  earth 
till  our  warfare  be  accomplished,  wait  for  a  due  dis¬ 
charge,  and  not  anticipate  the  time  of  our  removal. 

I.  Joshua  dismisses  them  to  the  land  of  their  pos¬ 
session,  v.  4.  They  that  were  first  in  the  assignment 
of  their  lot,  were  last  in  the  enjoyment  of  it;  they  got 
the  start  of  their  brethren  in  title,  but  their  breth¬ 
ren  were  before  them  in  full  possession;  so  the  last 
shall  be  first,  and  the  first  last,  that  there  may  be 
something  of  equality. 

II.  He  dismisses  them  with  their  pay;  for  who 
goes  a  warfare  at  his  own  charge?  v.  8,  Return 
with  much  riches  unto  your  tents.  Though  all  the 
land  they  had  helped  to  conquer,  was  to  go  to  the 
other  tribes,  yet  they  should  have  their  share  of  the 
plunder,  and  had  so,  and  that  was  all  the  pay  that 
any  of  the  soldiers  expected;  for  the  wars  of  Canaan 
bore  their  own  charges.  “  Go,”  says  Joshua,  “  go 
home  to  your  tents,”  that  is,  “  your  houses,”  which 
he  calls  tents,  because  they  had  been  so  much  used 
to  tents  in  the  wilderness;  and  indeed  the  strongest 
and  stateliest  houses  in  this  world  are  to  be  looked 
upon  but  as  tents,  mean  and  moveable  in  compari¬ 
son  with  our  house  above.  “Go  home  with  much 
riches,  not  only  cattle,  the  spoil  of  the  country,  but 
silver  and  gold,  the  plunder  of  the  cities,  and,”  1. 
“Let  your  brethren  whom  you  leave  behind,  have 
your  good  word,  who  have  allowed  you  your  share 
in  full,  though  the  land  is  entirely  their’s,  and  have 
not  offered  to  make  any  drawback.  Do  not  say  that 
you  are  losers  by  us.”  2.  “Let  your  brethren 
whom  you  go  to,  who  abode  by  the  stuff,  have  some 
share  of  the  spoil.  Divide  the  spoil  with  your  breth¬ 
ren,  as  that  was  divided,  which  was  taken  in  the 
war  with  Midian,  Numb.  31.  27.  Let  your  breth¬ 
ren  that  have  wanted  you  all  this  while,  be  the  bet¬ 
ter  for  you  when  you  come  home.” 

IIT.  He  dismisses  them  with  a  very  honourable 
character.  Though  their  service  was  a  due  debt, 
and  the  performance  of  a  promise,  and  they  had 
done  no  more  than  was  their  duty  to  do,  yet  he 
highly  commends  them;  not  only  gives  them  up 
their  bonds,  as  it  were,  now  that  they  had  fulfilled 
the  condition,  but  applauds  their  good  services. 
Though  it  was  by  the  favour  of  God  and  his  power, 
that  Israel  got  possession  of  this  land,  and  he  must 
hav  e  all  the  glory,  yet  Joshua  thought  there  was  a 
thankful  acknowledgment  due  to  their  brethren 
who  assisted  them,  and  whose  sword  and  bow  were 
employed  for  them.  God  must  be  chiefly  eyed  in 
nur  praises,  yet  instruments  must  not  be  altogether 
overlooked.  He  here  commends  them,  1.  For  the 
readiness  of  their  obedience  to  their  commanders,  v. 
2.  When  Moses  was  gone,  they  remembered  and 
observed  the  charge  he  had  given  them;  and  all  the 


orders  which  Joshua,  as  general  of  the  forces,  had 
issued  out,  they  had  carefully  obeyed,  went,  and 
came,  and  did,  as  he  appointed,  Matt.  8.  9.  It  is  as 
much  as  any  thing  the  soldier’s  praise,  to  observe 
the  word  of  command.  2.  For  the  constancy  of 
their  affection,  and  adherence  to  their  brethren, 
Ye  have  not  left  them  these  many  days.  How  many 
days,  he  does  not  say,  nor  can  we  gather  it  for  cer¬ 
tain  from  any  other  place.  Calvisius  and  others  of 
the  best  chronologers  compute,  that  the  conquering 
and  dividing  the  land  was  the  work  of  about  six  or 
seven  years,  and  so  long,  these  separate  tribes  at¬ 
tended  their  camp,  and  did  them  the  best  service 
they  could.  Note,  It  will  be  the  honour  of  those 
that  have  espoused  the  cause  of  God’s  Israel,  and 
twisted  interests  with  them,  to  adhere  to  them,  and 
never  to  leave  them  till  God  has  given  them  rest, 
and  then  they  shall  rest  with  them.  3.  For  the 
faithfulness  of  their  obedience  to  the  divine  law. 
They  had  not  only  done  their  duty  to  Joshua  and  Is¬ 
rael,  but,  which  was  best  of  ali,  they  had  made 
conscience  of  their  duty  to  God,  Ye  have  kept  the 
charge ;  or,  as  the  word  is,  Ye  have  kept  the  keep¬ 
ing,  that  is,  “Ye  have  carefully  and  circumspectly 
kept  the  commandment  of  the  Lord  your  God ;  not 
only  in  this  particular  instance  of  continuing  in  the 
service  of  Israel  to  the  end  of  the  war,  but,  in  gene¬ 
ral,  you  have  kept  up  religion  in  your  part  of  the 
camp,  a  rare  and  excellent  thing  among  soldiers, 
and  where  it  is  worthy  to  be  praised.  ” 

IV.  He  dismisses  them  with  good  counsel,  not  to 
cultivate  their  ground,  fortify  their  cities,  and  now 
that  their  hands  were  inured  to  war  and  victory,  to 
invade  their  neighbours,  and  so  enlarge  their  own 
territories,  but  to  keep  up  serious  godliness  among 
them  in  the  power  of  it.  They  were  not  politic  but 
pious  instructions  that  he  gave  them,  v.  5.  In  gen¬ 
eral,  to  take  diligent  heed  to  do  the  commandment 
and  the  law.  They  that  have  the  commandment 
have  it  in  vain,  unless  they  do  the  commandment; 
and  it  will  not  be  done  aright,  (so  apt  are  we  to  turn 
aside,  and  so  industrious  are  our  spiritual  enemies  to 
turn  us  aside,)  unless  we  take  heed,  diligent  heed. 
In  particular,  to  love  the  Lord  our  Gocl,  as  the  best 
of  beings,  and  the  best  of  friends,  and  as  far  as  that 
principle  rules  in  the  heart,  and  is  the  spring  of  its 
pulses,  there  will  be  a  constant  care  and  sincere  en¬ 
deavour  to  walk  in  his  ways,  in  all  his  ways,  even 
those  that  are  narrow  and  up  hill,  in  every  particu¬ 
lar  instance,  and  in  all  manner  of  conversation  to 
keep  his  commandments ;  and  at  all  times,  and  in  all 
conditions,  with  purpose  of  heart  to  cleave  unto  him, 
and  to  serve  him  and  his  honour,  and  the  interests 
of  his  kingdom  among  men,  with  all  our  heart,  and 
with  all  our  soul.  What  good  counsel  was  here 
given  to  them,  is  given  to  us  all;  God  give  us  grace 
to  take  it! 

V.  He  dismisses  them  with  a  blessing,  v.  6.  par¬ 
ticularly  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh,  to  which 
Joshua,  as  an  Ephraimite,  was  somewhat  nearer 
akin  than  to  the  other  two,  and  who,  perhaps,  were 
the  more  loath  to  depart,  because  they  left  one  half 
of  their  own  tribe  behind  them,  and  therefore,  bid¬ 
ding  often  farewell,  and  lingering  behind,  had  a 
second  dismission  and  blessing,  v.  7.  Joshua  not 
only  prayed  for  them  as  a  friend,  but  blessed  them 
as  a  father  in  the  name  of  the  Lord,  recommending 
them,  their  families  and  affairs,  to  the  grace  of  God. 
Some,  by  the  blessing  Joshua  gave  them,  understand 
the  presents  he  made  them,  in  recompense  of  their 
services;  but  Joshua  being  a  prophet,  and  having 
given  them  one  part  of  a  prophet’s  reward,  in  the 
instructions  he  gave  them,  v.  5.  no  doubt,  we  must 
understand  this  of  the  other,  even  the  prayers  he 
made  for  them,  as  one  having  authority,  and  as 
God’s  vicegerent. 

Being  thus  dismissed,  they  returned  to  the  land 


JOSHUA,  XXII.  89 


of  their  possession  in  a  body,  v.  9.  ferry-boats  being, 
it  is  likely,  provided  for  their  repassing  Jordan. 
Though  masters  of  families  may  have  occasion  to  be 
absent,  long  absent,  from  their  families  sometimes, 
yet,  when  their  business  abroad  is  finished,  they 
must  remember  home  is  their  place,  from  which 
they  ought  not  to  wander  as  a  bird  from  her  nest. 

10.  And  when  they  came  unto  the  bor-. 
ders  of  Jordan,  that  are  in  the  land  of  Ca¬ 
naan,  the  children  of  Reuben,  and  the  child¬ 
ren  of  Gad,  and  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh, 
built  there  an  altar  by  Jordan,  a  great  altar 
to  see  to.  11.  And  the  children  of  Israel 
heard  say,  Behold,  the  children  of  Reuben, 
and  the  children  of  Gad,  and  the  half  tribe 
of  Manasseh,  have  built  an  altar  over  against 
the  land  of  Canaan,  in  the  borders  of  Jor¬ 
dan,  at  the  passage  of  the  children  of  Israel. 

1 2.  And  when  the  children  of  Israel  heard 
of  it,  the  whole  congregation  of  the  children 
of  Israel  gathered  themselves  together  at 
Shiloh,  to  go  up  to  war  against  them.  1 3. 
And  the  children  of  Israel  sent  unto  the 
children  of  Reuben,  and  to  the  children  of 
Gad,  and  to  the  half  tribe  of  Manasseh,  into 
the  land  of  Gilead,  Phinehas,  the  son  of  Ele- 
azar  the  priest ;  1 4.  And  with  him  ten 

princes,  of  each  chief  house  a  prince  through¬ 
out  all  the  tribes  of  Israel ;  and  each  one 
was  a  head  of  the  house  of  their  fathers 
among  the  thousands  of  Israel.  15.  And 
they  came  unto  the  children  of  Reuben, 
and  to  the  children  of  Gad,  and  to  the  half 
tribe  of  Manasseh,  unto  the  land  of  Gilead ; 
and  they  spake  with  them,  saying,  1G. 
Thus  saith  the  whole  congregation  of  the 
Lord,  What  trespass  is  this  that  ye  have 
committed  against  the  God  of  Israel,  to  turn 
away  this  day  from  following  the  Lord,  in 
that  ye  have  builded  you  an  altar,  that  ye 
might  rebel  this  day  against  the  Lord  ?  17. 
Is  the  iniquity  of  Peor  too  little  for  us,  from 
which  we  are  not  cleansed  until  this  day, 
although  there  was  a  plague  in  the  congre¬ 
gation  of  the  Lord,  18.  But  that  ye  must 
turn  away  this  day  from  following  the  Lord? 
and  it  will  be,  seeing  ye  rebel  to-day  against 
the  Lord,  that  to-morrow  he  will  be  wroth 
with  the  whole  congregation  of  Israel.  1 9. 
Notwithstanding,  if  the  land  of  your  posses¬ 
sion  be  unclean,  then  pass  ye  over  unto  the 
land  of  the  possession  of  the  Lord,  wherein 
the  Lord’s  tabernacle  dwelleth,  and  take 
possession  among  us:  but  rebel  not  against 
the  Lord,  nor  rebel  against  us,  in  building 
you  an  altar,  besides  the  altar  of  the  Lord 
our  God.  20.  Did  not  Achan  the  son  of 
Zerah  commit  a  trespass  in  the  accursed 
thing,  and  wrath  fell  on  all  the  congregation 
of  Israel  ?  and  that  man  perished  not  alone 
in  his  iniquity. 

Vol.  ii. — M 


Here  is, 

I.  The  pious  care  of  the  separated  tribes  to  keep 
their  hold  of  Canaan’s  religion,  then  when  they 
were  leaving  Canaan’s  land,  that  they  might  not  be 
as  the  sons  of  the  stranger,  utterly  separated  from 
God's  people,  Isa.  56.  3.  In  order  to  this,  they 
built  a  great  altar  on  the  borders  of  Jordan,  to  be  a 
witness  for  them  that  they  were  Israelites,  and  as 
such  partakers  of  the  altar  of  the  Lord,  1  Cor.  10. 
18.  When  they  came  to  Jordan,  v.  10.  they  did  not 
consult  how  to  preserve  the  remembrance  of  their 
own  exploits  in  the  wars  of  Canaan,  and  the  ser¬ 
vices  they  had  done  their  brethren,  by  erecting  a 
monument  to  the  immortal  honour  of  the  two  tribes 
and  a  half.  But  their  relation  to  the  church  of  God, 
together  with  their  interest  in  the  communion  of 
saints,  is  that  which  they  are  solicitous  to  preserve 
and  perpetuate  the  proofs  and  evidences  of;  and 
therefore,  without  delay,  when  the  thing  was  first 
proposed  by  some  among  them,  who,  though  glad 
to  think  that  they  were  going  toward  home,  were 
sorry  to  think  that  they  were  going  from  the  altai 
of  God,  immediately  they  erected  this  altar,  which 
served  as  a  bridge  to  keep  up  their  fellowship  with 
the  other  tribes  in  the  things  of  God.  Some  think 
they  built  this  altar  on  the  Canaan-side  of  Jordan, 
in  the  lot  of  Benjamin,  that  looking  over  the  river, 
they  might  see  the  figure  of  the  altar  at  Shiloh, 
when  they  could  not  conveniently  go  to  it;  but  it  is 
more  likely  that  they  built  it  on  their  own  side  of 
the  water,  for  what  had  they  to  do  to  build  upon 
another  man’s  land  without  hiis  consent?  And  it  is 
said  to  be  over-against  the  land  of  Canaan,  nor 
would  there  have  been  any  cause  of  suspecting  it 
designed  for  sacrifice,  if  they  had  not  built  it  among 
themselves. 

This  altar  was  very  innocently  and  honestly  de¬ 
signed,  but  it  had  been  well,  if,  since  it  had  in  it  an 
appearance  of  evil,  and  might  be  an  occasion  of  of¬ 
fence  to  their  brethren,  they  had  consulted  the 
oracle  of  God  about  it  before  they  did  it;  or  at  least 
acquainted  their  brethren  with  tjieir  purpose,  and 
given  them  the  same  explication  of  their  altar  be¬ 
fore,  to  prevent  their  jealousy,  which  they  did  after, 
to  remove  it.  Their  zeal  was  commendable,  but  it 
ought  to  have  been  guided  with  discretion;  there 
was  no  need  to  hasten  the  building  of  an  altar  for 
the  purpose  they  intended  this,  but  they  might  have 
taken  time  to  consider  and  take  advice;  yet,  when 
their  sincerity  was  made  to  appear,  we  do  not  fiitd 
that  they  were  blamed  for  their  rashness;  God  does, 
and  men  should,  overlook  the  weakness  of  an  hon¬ 
est  zeal. 

II.  The  holy  jealousy  of  the  other  tribes  for  the 
honour  of  God,  and  his  altar  at  Shiloh.  Notice  was 
immediately  brought  to  the  princes  of  Israel  of  the 
setting  up  this  altar,  z>.  11.  And  they,  knowing 
how  strict  and  severe  that  law  was,  which  required 
them  to  offer  all  their  sacrifices  in  the  place  which 
God  should  choose,  and  not  elsewhere,  Deut.  12.  5, 
7.  were  soon  apprehensive,  that  the  getting  up  of 
another  altar,  was  an  affront  to  the  choice  which 
God  had  lately  made  of  a  place  to  put  his  name  in, 
and  had  a  direct  tendency  to  the  worship  of  some 
other  God. 

Now,  1.  Their  suspicion  was  very  excusable,  for 
it  must  be  confessed,  the  thing  prima facie — at  first 
sight,  looked  ill,  and  seemed  to  shadow  forth  a  de¬ 
sign  to  set  up  and  maintain  a  competitor  with  the 
altar  at  Shiloh.  It  was  no  strained  inuendo,  from 
the  building  an  altar,  to  infer  an  intention  to  offer 
sacrifice  upon  it,  and  that  might  introduce  idolatry, 
and  end  in  a  total  apostasy  from  the  faith  and  wor¬ 
ship  of  the  God  of  Israel.  So  great  a  matter  might 
this  fire  kindle.  God  is  jealous  for  his  own  institu¬ 
tions,  and  therefore  we  should  be  so  too,  and  afraid 
of  every  thing  that  looks  like,  or  leads  to,  idolatry. 


90 


JOSHU 

2.  Their  zeal,  upon  this  suspicion,  was  very  com¬ 
mendable,  v.  12.  When  they  apprehended  that 
these  tribes,  which  by  the  river  Jordan  were  sepa¬ 
rated  from  them,  were  separating  themselves  from 
God,  they  took  it  as  the  greatest  injury  that  could 
be  done  to  themselves,  and  showed  a  readiness,  if  it 
were  necessary,  to  put  their  lives  in  their  hands,  in 
defence  of  the  altar  of  God,  and  to  take  up  arms  for 
the  chastising  and  reducing  of  these  rebels,  and  to 
prevent  the  spreading  of  the  infection,  if  no  gentle 
methods  would  serve,  by  cutting  off  from  their  body 
the  gangrened  member.  They  all  gathered  toge¬ 
ther,  and  Shiloh  was  the  place  of  their  rendezvous, 
because  it  was  in  defence  of  the  divine  charter  lately 
granted  to  that  place,  that  they  now  appeared; 
their  resolution  was  as  became  a  kingdom  of  priests, 
who,  being  devoted  to  God  and  his  service,  did  not 
acknowledge  their  brethren,  nor  know  their  own 
children,  Deut.  33.  9.  They  would  immediately 
go  ufi  to  war  against  them,  if  it  appeared  they  were 
revolted  from  God,  and  in  rebellion  against  him: 
though  they  were  bone  of  their  bone,  had  been  com- 
/ tanions  with  them  in  tribulation  in  the  wilderness, 
and  serviceable  to  them  in  the  wars  of  Canaan;  yet 
if  they  turn  to  serve  other  gods,  they  will  treat 
them  as  enemies,  not  as  sons  of  Israel,  but  as  chil¬ 
dren  of  whoredoms,  for  so  God  had  appointed, 
Deut.  13.  12,  &c.  They  had  but  lately  sheathed 
their  swords,  and  retired  from  the  perils  and  fa¬ 
tigues  of  war  to  the  rest  God  had  given  them,  and 
yet  they  are  willing  to  begin  a  new  war,  rather  than 
be  any  way  wanting  in  their  duty  to  restrain,  re¬ 
press,  and  revenge  idolatry,  and  every  step  towrards 
it.  A  brave  resolution,  and  which  shows  them 
hearty  for  their  religion,  and,  we  hope  careful  and 
diligent  in  the  practice  of  it  themselves.  Corrup¬ 
tions  in  religion  are  best  dealt  with  at  first,  before 
they  get  a  head,  and  plead  prescription. 

3.  Their  prudence  in  prosecution  of  this  zealous 
resolution,  is  no  less  commendable.  God  had  ap¬ 
pointed  them  in  cases  of  this  nature,  to  inquire  and 
make  search,  Deut.  13.  14.  that  they  might  not 
wrong  their  brethren  under  pretence  of  righting 
their  religion;  accordingly,  they  resolve  here  not 
to  send  forth  their  armies  to  wage  war,  till  they 
had  first  sent  their  ambassadors  to  inquire  into  the 
merits  of  the  cause,  and  these  men  of  the  first  rank, 
one  out  of  each  tribe,  and  Phinehas  at  the  head  of 
them  to  be  their  spokesman,  v.  13,  14.  Thus  was 
their  zeal  for  God  tempo  ed,  guided,  and  governed 
by  the  meekness  of  wisdotn.  He  that  knows  all 
things,  and  hates  all  evil  things,  would  not  punish 
the  worst  of  criminals,  but  he  would  first  go  down 
and  see,  Gen.  18.  21.  Many  an  unhappy  strife 
would  be  prevented,  or  soon  taken  up,  by  an  im¬ 
partial  and  favourable  inquiry  into  that  which  is  the 
matter  of  the  offence.  The  rectifying  of  mistakes 
and  misunderstandings,  and  the  setting  of  miscon¬ 
strued  words  and  actions  in  a  true  light,  would  be 
the  most  effectual  way  to  accommodate  both  pri¬ 
vate  and  public  quarrels,  and  bring  them  to  a  happy 
period. 

4.  The  ambassadors’  management  of  this  matter 
came  fully  up  to  the  sense  and  spirit  of  the  congre¬ 
gation  concerning  it,  and  bespeaks  much  both  of 
zeal  and  prudence. 

(1.)  The  charge  they  draw  up  against  their  bre¬ 
thren,  is  indeed  very  high,  and  admits  no  other  ex¬ 
cuse  than  that  it  was  in  their  zeal  for  the  honour  of 
God,  and  was  now  intended  to  justify  the  resent¬ 
ments  of  the  congregation  at  Shiloh,  and  to  awaken 
the  supposed  delinquents  to  clear  themselves, 
otherwise  they  might  have  suspected  their  judg¬ 
ment,  or  mollified  it  at  least,  and  not  have  taken  it 
for  granted,  as  they  do  here,  v.  16.  that  the  build¬ 
ing  of  this  altar  was  a  trespass  against  the  God  of 
Israel,  and  a  trespass,  no  less  heinous  than  the  re- 


A,  XXII. 

volt  of  soldiers  from  their  captain,  ( to  turn  from 
following  the  Lord,)  and  the  rebellion  of  subjects 
against  their  sovereign  ( that  ye  might  rebel  this  day 
against  the  Lord. )  Hard  words!  It  is  well  they 
were  not  able  to  make  good  their  chaige.  Let  not 
innocency  think  it  strange  to  be  thus  misrepresent¬ 
ed  and  accused;  they  laid  to  my  charge  things  that 
I  knew  not. 

(2.)  The  aggravation  of  the  crime  charged  upon 
their  brethren,  is  somewhat  far-fetched,  v.  17.  Is 
the  iniquity  of  Peor  too  little  for  us?  Probably,  that 
is  mentioned,  because  Phinehas,  the  first  commis¬ 
sioner  in  this  treaty,  had  signalized  himself  in  that 
matter,  Numb.  25.  7.  and  because  we  may  suppose 
they  were  now  about  the  very  place  in  which  that 
iniquity  was  committed  on  the  other  side  Jordan. 
It  is  good  to  recollect  and  improve  those  instances 
of  the  wrath  of  God,  revealed  from  heaven  against 
the  ungodliness  and  unrighteous?iess  of  men,  which 
have  fallen  out  in  our  own  time,  and  which  we  our¬ 
selves  have  been  eye-witnesses  of.  He  reminds 
them  of  the  iniquity  of  Peor,  [1.]  As  a  very  great 
sin,  and  very  provoking  to  God.  The  building  of 
this  altar  seemed  but  a  Small  matter,  but  it  might 
lead  to  iniquity  as  bad  as  that  of  Peor,  and  there¬ 
fore  must  be  crushed  in  its  first  rise.  Note,  The  re¬ 
membrance  of  great  sins  committed  formerly,  should 
engage  us  to  stand  upon  our  guard  against  the  least 
occasions  and  beginnings  of  sin:  for  the  way  of  sin  is 
down  hill.  [2.]  As  a  sin  that  the  whole  congregation 
had  smarted  for;  There  was  a  plague  in  the  congre¬ 
gation  of  the  Lord,  of  which,  in  one  day,  there  died  no 
less  than  twenty-four  thousand;  was  not  that  enough 
forever  to  warn  you  against  idolatry?  What,  will  ycu 
bring  upon  yourselves  another  plague?  Are  you  so 
mad  upon  an  idolatrous  altar,  that  you  will  run  your¬ 
selves  thus  upon  the  sword’s  point  of  God’s  judg¬ 
ments?  Does  not  our  camp  still  feel  from  that  sin, 
and  the  punishment  of  it?  We  are  not  cleansed 
from  it  unto  this  day;  there  are  remaining  sparks,” 
First,  “Of  the  infection  of  that  sin;  some  among 
us  so  inclined  to  idolatry,  that  if  ycdi  set  up  another 
altar,  they  will  soon  take  occasion  from  that,  whe¬ 
ther  you  intend  it  or  no,  to  worship  another  god.” 
Secotidly,  “Of  the  wrath  of  God  against  us  for 
that  sin:  we  have  reason  to  fear,  that  if  we  provoke 
God  by  another  sin  to  visit,  he  will  remember 
against  us  the  iniquity  of  Peor,  as  he  threatened  to 
do  that  of  the  golden  calf,  Exod.  32.  34.  And  dare 
you  wake  the  sleeping  lion  of  divine  vengeance?” 
Note,  It  is  a  foolish  and  dangerous  thing  for  people 
to  think  their  former  sins  little,  too  little  for  them, 
as  those  do  who  add  sin  to  sin,  and  so  treasure  up 
wrath  against  the  day  of  wrath.  Let  therefore  the 
time  past  suffice,  1  Pet.  4.  3. 

(3.)  The  reason  they  give  for  their  concerning 
themselves  so  warmly  in  this  matter,  is  very  suffi¬ 
cient;  they  were  obliged  to  it,  in  their  own  neces¬ 
sary  defence,  by  the  law  cf  self-preservation;  “for 
if  you  revolt  from  God  to-day,  who  knows,  but  to¬ 
morrow,  his  judgments  may  break  in  upon  the 
whole  congregation,  v.  18.  as  in  the  case  of  Achan, 
v.  20.  He  sinned,  and  we  all  smarted  for  it,  by 
which  we  should  receive  instruction,  and  from  what 
God  did  then,  infer  what  we  may  do,  and  fear  what 
he  will  do,  if.  we  do  not  witness  against  your  sin, 
who  are  so  many,  and  punish  it?”  Note,  The  con¬ 
servators  of  the  public  peace  are  obliged,  in  justice 
to  the  common  safety,  to  use  their  power  for  the 
restraining  and  so  suppressing  of  vice  and  profane¬ 
ness,  lest,  if  it  be  connived  at,  the  sin  thereby  be¬ 
come  national,  and  bring  God’s  judgments  upon  the 
community.  Nay,  We  are  all  concerned  therefore 
to  reprove  our  neighbour  when  he  does  amiss,  lest 
we  bear  sin  for  him.  Lev.  19.  17. 

(4.)  The  offer  they  make  is  very  fair  and  kind, 
v.  19.  that  if  they  thought  the  land  of  their  pos- 


01 


JOSHUA,  XXII. 


session  unclean  for  want  of  an  altar,  and  therefore 
could  not  be  easy  without  one,  rather  than  they 
should  set  up  another  in  competition  with  that  of 
Shiloh,  they  should  be  welcome  to  come  back  to 
the  land  where  the  Lord's  tabernacle  was,  and  set¬ 
tle  there,  and  they  would  very  willingly  straiten 
themselves  to  make  room  for  them.  By  this  they 
showed  a  sincere  and  truly  pious  zeal  against 
schism,  that  rather  than  their  brethren  should  have 
any  occasion  to  set  up  a  separate  altar,  though  their 
pretence  for  it,  as  here  supposed,  was  very  weak, 
and  grounded  upon  a  great  mistake,  yet  they  were 
willing  to  part  with  a  considerable  share  of  the  land 
which  God  himself  had  by  the  lot  assigned  them, 
to  comprehend  them  and  take  them  in  among  them. 
This  was  the  spirit  of  Israelites  indeed. 

21.  Then  the  children  of  Reuben,  and 
the  children  of  Gad,  and  the  half  tribe  of 
Manasseh,  answered  and  said  unto  the 
heads  of  the  thousands  of  Israel,  22.  The 
Lord  God  of  gods,  the  Lord  God  of  gods, 
he  knoweth,  and  Israel  he  shall  know ;  if  it 
be  in  rebellion,  or  if  in  transgression  against 
the  Lord,  (save  us  not  this  day,)  23.  That 
we  have  built  us  an  altar  to  turn  from  fol¬ 
lowing  Ihe  Lord,  or  if  to  offer  thereon 
burnt-offering  or  meat-offering,  or  if  to  offer 
peace-offerings  thereon,  let  the  Lord  him¬ 
self  require  it;  24.  And  if  we  have  not 
rather  done  it  for  fear  of  this  thing,  say  ing, 
In  time  to  come  your  children  might  speak 
unto  our  children,  saying,  What  have  you 
to  do  with  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  ?  25. 
For  the  Lord  hath  made  Jordan  a  border 
between  us  and  you ;  ye  children  of  Reu¬ 
ben,  and  children  of  Gad,  ye  have  no  part 
in  the  Lord  :  so  shall  your  children  make 
our  children  cease  from  fearing  the  Lord. 
26.  Therefore  we  said,  Let  us  now  prepare 
to  build  us  an  altar,  not  for  burnt-offering, 
nor  for  sacrifice :  27.  But  that  it  may  be  a 

witness  between  us  and  you,  and  our  gene¬ 
rations  after  us,  that  we  might  do  the  ser¬ 
vice  of  the  Lord  before  him  with  our 
burnt-offerings,  and  with  our  sacrifices,  and 
with  our  peace-offerings ;  that  your  children 
may  not  say  to  our  children  in  time  to  come, 
Ye  have  no  part  in  the  Lord.  28.  There¬ 
fore  said  we,  that  it  shall  be,  when  they 
should  so  say  to  us,  or  to  our  generations  in 
time  to  come,  that  we  may  say  again ,  Be¬ 
hold  the  pattern  of  the  altar  of  the  Lord, 
which  our  fathers  made,  not  for  burnt-offer¬ 
ings,  nor  for  sacrifices;  but  it  is  a  witness 
between  us  and  you.  29.  God  forbid  that 
we  should  rebel  against  the  Lord,  and  turn 
this  day  from  following  the  Lord,  to  build 
an  altar  for  burnt-offerings,  for  meat-offer¬ 
ings,  or  for  sacrifices,  besides  the  altar  of  the 
Lord  our  God  that  is  before  his  tabernacle. 

We  may  suppose  there  was  a  general  convention 
called  cf  the  princes  and  great  men  of  the  separate 
tribes,  to  give  audience  to  these  ambassadors;  or 


perhaps,  the  army,  as  it  came  home,  were  still  en¬ 
camped  together  in  a  body,  and  not  yet  dispersed; 
however  it  was,  there  were  enough  to  represent  the 
two  tribes  and  a  half,  and  to  give  their  sense. 

Their  reply  to  the  warm  remonstrance  of  the 
ten  tribes  is  very  fair  and  ingenuous.  They  do  not 
retort  their  charge,  upbraid  them  with  the  injus¬ 
tice  and  unkindness  of  their  threatenings,  or  re¬ 
proach  them  for  their  rash  and  hasty  censures;  but 
give  them  that  soft  answer  which  turns  away 
wrath,  avoiding  all  those  grievous  words  which  stir 
up  anger;  they  demur  not  to  their  jurisdiction,  nor 
plead  that  they  were  not  accountable  to  them  for 
what  they  had  done,  nor  bid  them  mind  their  own 
business;  but,  by  a  free  and  open  declaration  of 
their  sincere  intention  in  what  they  did,  free  them¬ 
selves  from  the  imputation  they  were  under,  and 
set  themselves  right  in  the  opinion  of  their  bre¬ 
thren;  to  do  which  they  only  needed  to  state  the 
case,  and  put  the  matter  in  a  true  light. 

I.  They  solemnly  protest  against  any  design  to 
use  this  altar  for  sacrifice  or  offering,  and  therefore 
were  far  from  setting  it  up  in  competition  with  the 
altar  at  Shiloh,  or  from  entertaining  the  least 
thought  of  deserting  that.  They  had  indeed  set 
up  that  which  had  the  shape  and  fashion  of  an  altar, 
but  they  had  not  dedicated  it  to  a  religious  use,  had 
had  no  solemnity  of  its  consecration,  and  therefore 
ought  not  to  be  charged  with  a  design  to  put  it  to 
any  such  use.  To  gain  credit  to  this  protestation, 
here  is, 

1.  A  solemn  appeal  to  God  concerning  it,  with 
which  they  begin  their  defence,  intending  thereby 
to  give  glory  to  God  first,  and  then  to  give  satisfac¬ 
tion  to  their  brethren,  v.  22. 

(1.)  A  profound  awe  and  reverence  of  God  are  ex¬ 
pressed  in  the  form  of  their  appeal;  The  Lord  God 
of  gods,  the  J.ord  God  of  gods,  he  knows.  Or,  as  it 
might  lie  read  somewhat  closer  to  the  original,  7 he 
God  of  gods,  Jehovah,  the  God  of  gods,  Jehovah,  he 
knows;  which  bespeaks  his  self-existence  and  self- 
sufficiency,  he  is  Jehovah,  and  has  sovereignty  and 
supremacy  over  all  beings  and  powers  whatsoever, 
even  those  that  are  called  gods,  or  that  are  wor¬ 
shipped.  This  brief  confession  of  their  faith  would 
help  to  obviate  and  remove  their  brethren’s  suspi¬ 
cion  of  them,  as  if  they  intended  to  desert  the  God 
of  Israel,  and  worship  other  gods:  how  could  they 
entertain  such  a  thought,  who  believed  him  to  be 
God  over  all?  Let  us  learn  hence  always  to  speak 
of  God  with  reverence  and  seriousness,  and  to  men¬ 
tion  his  name  with  a  solemn  pause.  Those  who 
make  their  appeals  to  heaven  with  a  slight,  care¬ 
less,  “  God  knows!”  have  reason  to  fear  lest  they 
take  his  name  in  vain,  for  it  is  very  unlike  this 
here. 

(2. )  It  is  a  great  confidence  of  their  own  integrity, 
which  they  express  in  the  matter  of  their  appeal. 
They  refer  the  controversy  to  the  God  of  gods, 
whose  judgment,  we  are  sure,  is  according  to  truth, 
such  as  the  guilty  have  reason  to  dread,  and  the  up¬ 
right  to  rejoice  in.  “  If  it  be  in  rebellion  or  trans¬ 
gression  that  we  have  built  this  altar,  to  confront 
the  altar  of  the  Lord  at  Shiloh,  to  make  a  party,  or 
to  set  up  any  new  gods  or  worships;”  [1.]  “He 
knows  it,  v.  22.  for  he  is  perfectly  acquainted  with 
the  thoughts  and  intents  of  the  heart,  and  particu¬ 
larly  with  all  inclinations  to  idolatry,  Ps.  44.  20,  21. 
that  is  in  a  particular  manner  before  him,  we  be¬ 
lieve  he  knows  it,  and  we  cannot  by  any  arts  con¬ 
ceal  it  from  him.”  [2.]  “  Let  him  require  it,  as  we 
know  he  will,  for  he  is  a  jealous  God.”  Nothing 
but  a  clear  conscience  would  have  thus  imprecated 
divine  justice  to  avenge  the  rebellion,  if  there  had 
been  any.  Note,  First,  In  every  thing  we  do  in  re¬ 
ligion,  it  highly  concerns  us  to  appr.  ve  ourselves  to 
God  in  our  integrity  therein,  remembering  that  he 


92 


JOSHUA,  XXII. 


knows  the  heart.  Secondly,  When  we  fall  under 
the  censures  of  men,  it  is  very  comfortable  to  be 
able  with  a  humble  confidence  to  appeal  to  God 
concerning  our  sincerity.  See  1  Cor.  4.  3,  4. 

2.  A  sober  apology  presented  to  their  brethren. 
Israel,  he  shall  know.  Though  the  record  on  high, 
and  the  witness  in  our  bosoms,  are  principally  to  be 
made  sure  for  us,  yet  there  is  a  satisfaction  besides, 
which  we  owe  to  our  brethren,  who  doubt  concern¬ 
ing  our  integrity,  and  which  we  should  be  ready  to 
give  with  meekness  and  fear.  .  If  our  sincerity  be 
known  to  God,  we  should  study  likewise  to  let 
others  know  it  by  its  fruits,  especially  those,  who, 
though  they  mistake  us,  yet  show  a  zeal  for  the 
glory  of  God,  as  the  ten  tribes  here  did. 

3.  A  serious  abjuration  or  renunciation  of  the  de¬ 
sign  which  they  were  suspected  to  be  guilty  of. 
With  this  they  conclude  their  defence,  v.  29.  “  God 
forbid  that  we  should  rebel  against  the  Lord,  as  we 
own  we  should,  if  we  had  set  up  this  altar  for  burnt- 
offerings;  no,  we  abhor  the  thought  of  it.  We  have 
as  great  a  value  and  veneration  for  the  altar  of  the 
Lord  at  Shiloh,  as  any  of  the  tribes  of  Israel  have, 
and  are  as  firmly  resolved  to  adhere  to  it,  and  con¬ 
stantly  to  attend  it;  we  have  the  same  concern  that 
you  have  for  the  purity  of  God’s  worship,  and  the 
unity  of  his  church ;  far  be  it,  far  be  it  from  us,  to 
think  of  turning  away  from  following  God.” 

II.  They  fully  explain  their  true  intent  and 
meaning  in  building  this  altar;  and  we  have  all  the 
reason  in  the  world  to  believe  that  it  is  a  true  re¬ 
presentation  of  their  design,  and  not  advanced  now 
to  palliate  it  afterward;  as  we  have  reason  to  think 
that  these  same  persons  meant  very  honestly,  when 
they  petitioned  to  have  their  lot  on  that  side  Jordan, 
though  then  also  it  was  their  unhappiness  to  be  mis¬ 
understood  even  by  Moses  himself. 

In  their  vindication  they  make  it  out,  that  the 
building  of  this  altar  was  so  far  from  being  a  step 
toward  a  separation  from  their  brethren,  and  from 
the  altar  of  the  Lord  at  Shiloh,  that,  on  the  contra¬ 
ry,  it  was  really  designed  for  a  pledge  and  preser¬ 
vative  of  their  communion  with  their  brethren,  and 
with  the  altar  of  God,  and  a  token  of  their  resolu¬ 
tion  to  do  the  service  o  f  the  Lord  before  him,  v.  2 7. 
and  to  continue  to  do  so. 

1.  They  gave  an  account  of  the  fears  they  had, 
lest  in  process  of  time,  their  posterity,  being  seated 
at  such  a  distance  from  the  tabernacle,  should  be 
looked  upon  and  treated  as  strangers  to  the  com¬ 
monwealth  of  Israel,  v.  24.  it  was  for  fear  of  this 
thing,  and  the  word  signifies  a  great  perplexity  and 
solicitude  of  mind  which  they  were  in,  until  they 
eased  themselves  by  this  expedient.  As  they  were 
returning  home,  (and  we  may  suppose  it  was  not 
thought  of  before,  else  they  would  have  made 
Joshua  acquainted  with  their  purpose,)  some  of 
them  in  dicourse  started  this  matter,  and  the  rest 
took  the  hint,  and  represented  to  themselves  and 
one  another,  a  very  melancholy  prospect  of  what 
might,  probably,  happen  in  after-ages,  that  their 
children  would  be  looked  upon  by  the  other  tribes 
as  having  no  interest  in  the  altar  of  God,  and  the 
sacrifices  there  offered.  Now  indeed  they  were 
owned  as  brethren,  and  were  as  welcome  at  the  ta¬ 
bernacle  as  any  other  of  the  tribes;  but  what  if  their 
children  after  them  should  be  disowned?  They  by 
reason  of  their  distance,  and  the  interposition  of 
Jordan,  which  it  was  not  easy  at  all  times  to  pass 
and  repass,  could  not  be  so  numerous  and  constant 
in  their  attendance  on  the  three  yearly  feasts  as  the 
other  tribes  to  make  a  continual  claim  to  the  privi¬ 
leges  of  Israelites,  and  would  therefore  be  looked 
upon  as  inconsiderable  members  of  their  church, 
and  by  degrees  would  be  rejected  as  not  members 
of  it  at  all,  so  shall  your  children,  (who  in  their 
pride  will  be  apt  to  monopolize  the  privileges  of  the 


altar,)  make  our  children  (who  perhaps  will  not  be 
so  careful  as  they  ought  to  be  to  keep  hold  of  those 
privileges)  cease  from  fearing  the  Lord.  Note,  (1.) 
They  that  are  cut  off  from  public  ordinances,  are 
likely  to  lose  all  religion,  'and  will  by  degrees  ^ase 
from  fearing  the  Lord.  Though  the  form  and  pro¬ 
fession  of  godliness  are  kept  up  by  many  without 
the  life  and  power  of  it,  yet  the  life  and  power  of  it 
will  not  long  be  kept  up  without  the  form  and  pro¬ 
fession  of  it.  You  take  away  grace,  if  you  take  away 
the  means  of  grace.  (2.)  They  who  have  them¬ 
selves  found  the  comfort  and  benefit  of  God’s  ordi¬ 
nances,  cannot  but  desire  to  preserve  and  perpetuate 
the  entail  of  them  upon  their  seed,  and  use  all  pos¬ 
sible  precautions  that  their  children  after  them 
may  not  be  made  to  cease  from  following  the  Lord, 
or  be  looked  upon  as  having  no  part  in  him. 

2.  The  project  they  had  to  prevent  this,  v.  26-  • 
28.  “Therefore  to  secure  an  interest  in  the  altar 
of  God  to  those  who  shall  come  after  us,  and  to 
prove  their  title  to  it,  we  said,  Let  us  build  an  altar, 
to  be  a  witness  between  us  and  you.”  That  having 
this  copy  of  the  altar  in  their  custody,  it  might  be 
produced  as  an  evidence  of  their  right  to  the  privi¬ 
leges  of  the  original.  Every  one  that  saw  this  altar, 
and  observed  it  was  never  used  for  sacrifice  and  of¬ 
fering,  would  inquire  what  was  the  meaning  of  it, 
and  this  answer  would  be  given  to  that  inquiry,  that 
it  was  built  by  those  separate  tribes,  in  token  of 
their  communion  with  their  brethren,  and  their 
joint-interest  with  them  in  the  altar  of  the  Lord. 
Christ  is  the  great  Altar  that  sanctifies  every  gift; 
the  best  evidence  of  our  interest  in  him  will  be  the 
pattern  of  his  Spirit  in  our  hearts,  and  our  confor¬ 
mity  to  him :  if  we  can  produce  that,  it  will  be  testi¬ 
mony  for  us,  that  we  have  a  fart  in  the  Lord,  and 
an  earnest  for  our  perseverance  in  following  him. 

30.  And  when  Phinehas  the  priest,  and 
the  princes  of  the  congregation,  and  heads 
of  the  thousands  of  Israel  which  were  with 
him,  heard  the  words  that  the  children  of 
Reuben  and  the  children  of  Gad,  and  the 
children  of  Manasseh,  spake,  it  pleased 
them.  31.  And  Phinehas  the  son  of  Elea* 
zar  the  priest  said  unto  the  children  of  Reu¬ 
ben,  and  to  the  children  of  Gad,  and  to  the 
children  of  Manasseh,  This  day  we  perceive 
that  the  Lord  is  among  us,  because  ye  have 
not  committed  this  trespass  against  the 
Lord  :  now  ye  have  delivered  the  children 
of  Israel  out  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord.  32. 
And  Phinehas  the  son  of  Eleazar  the  priest, 
and  the  princes,  returned  from  the  children 
of  Reuben,  and  from  the  children  of  Gad, 
out  of  the  land  of  Gilead,  unto  the  land  of 
Canaan,  to  the  children  of  Israel,  and 
brought  them  word  again.  33.  And  the 
thing  pleased  the  children  of  Israel ;  and 
the  children  of  Israel  blessed  God,  and  did 
not  intend  to  go  up  against  them  in  battle, 
to  destroy  the  land  wherein  the  children  of 
Reuben  and  Gad  dwelt.  34.  And  the 
children  of  Reuben,  and  the  children  of  Gad, 
called  the  altar  Ed  :  for  it  shall  he  a  witness 
between  us  that  the  Lord  is  God. 

We  have  here  the  good  issue  of  this  controversy, 
which,  if  there  had  not  been  on  both  sides  a  dispo¬ 
sition  to  peace,  as  there  was  on  both  sides  a  zeal  for 


JOSHUA,  XXIII. 


9.3 


(rod,  might  have  been  of  ill  consequence;  for  quar¬ 
rels  about  religion,  for  want  of  wisdom  and  love, 
often  prove  the  most  fierce  and  most  difficult  to  be 
taken  up.  But  these  contending  parties,  when  the 
matter  was  fairly  stated  and  argued,  were  so  happy 
as  to  understand  one  another  very  well,  and  so  the 
difference  was  presently  compromised. 

1.  The  ambassadors"  were  exceedingly  pleased, 
when  the  separate  tribes  had  given  in  a  protesta¬ 
tion  of  the  innocency  of  their  intentions  in  building 
this  altar.  (1.)  The  ambassadors  did  not  call  in 
question  their  sincerity  in  that  protestation,  did  not 
s  iv,  “You  tell  us  you  design  it  not  for  sacrifice  and 
offering,  but  who  can  believe  you?  What  security 
will  you  give  us  that  it  shall  never  be  so  used?5’ 
No,  charity  believes  all  things,  hopes  all  things,  be¬ 
lieves  and  hopes  the  best,  and  is  very  loath  to  give 
the  lie  to  any. 

(2. )  They  did  not  upbraid  them  with  the  rashness 
and  unadvisedness  of  this  action;  did  not  tell  them, 
“  If  you  would  do  such  a  thing,  and  with  this  good 
intention,  yet  you  might  have  had  that  respect  for 
Joshua  and  Eleazar,  as  to  have  advised  with  them, 
or  at  least  have  made  them  acquainted  with  it,  and 
so  have  saved  the  trouble  and  expense  of  this  em¬ 
bassy.”  But  a  little  want  of  consideration  and  good 
manners  should  be  excused  and  overlooked  in  those 
who,  we  have  reason  to  think,  mean  honestly.  (3.) 
Much  less  did  they  go  about  to  fish  for  evidence  to 
make  out  their  charge,  because  they  had  once  exhi¬ 
bited  it,  but  were  glad  to  have  their  mistake  recti¬ 
fied,  and  were  not  at  all  ashamed  to  own  it.  Proud 
and  peevish  spirits,  when  they  have  past  an  unjust 
censure  upon  their  brethren,  though  never  so  much 
convincing  evidence  be  brought  of  the  injustice  of  it, 
will  stand  to  it,  and  can  by  no  means  be  persuaded 
to  retract  it.  These  ambassadors  were  not  so  pre¬ 
judiced;  their  brethren’s  vindication  pleased  them, 
v.  30.  They  looked  upon  their  innocency  as  a  token 
of  God’s  presence,  v.  31.  especially  when  they 
found  what  was  done,  was  so  far  from  being  an  in¬ 
dication  of  their  growing  cool  to  the  altar  of  God, 
that,  on  the  contrary,  it  was  a  fruit  of  their  zealous 
affection  to  it;  Ye  have  delivered  the  children  of  Is¬ 
rael  out  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord,  that  is,  “You 
have  not,  as  we  feared,  delivered  them  into  the  hand 
of  the  Lord,  or  exposed  them  to  his  judgments,  by 
the  trespass  we  were  jealous  of.” 

2.  The  congregation  was  abundantly  satisfied, 
when  their  ambassadors  reported  to  them  their 
brethren’s  apology  for  what  they  had  done.  It 
should  seem,  they  staid  together,  at  least  by  their 
representatives,  until  they  heard  the  issue,  v.  32. 
And  when  they  understood  the  truth  of  the  matter, 
it  pleased  them,  v.  33.  and  they  blessed  God. 
Note,  Our  brethren’s  constancy  in  religion,  their 
zeal  for  the  power  of  godliness,  and  their  keeping 
the  unity  of  the  Spirit  in  faith  and  love,  notwith¬ 
standing  the  jealousies  conceived  of  them  as  break¬ 
ing  the  unity  of  the  church ,  are  things  which  we 
should  be  very  glad  to  be  satisfied  of,  and  should 
make  the  matter  both  of  our  rejoicing  and  of  our 
thanksgiving;  let  God  have  the  glory  of  it,  and  let 
us  take  the  comfort  of  it.  Being  thus  satisfied,  they 
laid  down  their  arms  immediately,  and  were  so  far 
from  any  thoughts  of  prosecuting  the  war  they  had 
been  meditating  against  their  brethren,  that  we  may 
suppose  them  wishing  for  the  next  feast,  when  they 
should  meet  them  at  Shiloh. 

3.  The  separate  tribes  were  gratified,  and  since 
they  had  a  mind  to  preserve  among  them  this  pat¬ 
tern  of  the  altar  of  ( Jod,  though  there  was  not  likely 
to  be  that  occasion  for  it  which  they  fancied,  yet 
Joshua  and  the  princes  let  them  have  their  humour, 
and  did  not  give  orders  for  the  demolishing  of  it, 
though  there  was  as  much  reason  to  fear  that  it 
might  in  process  of  time  be  an  occasion  of  idolatry, 


as  there  was  to  hope  that  ever  it  might  be  a  preser¬ 
vation  from  idolatry.  Thus  did  the  strong  bear  the 
infirmities  of  the  weak.  Only ,  care  was  taken  that  they 
having  explained  the  meaning  of  their  altar,  that 
it  was  intended  for  no  more  than  a  testimony  of  theft 
communion  with  the  altar  at  Shiloh,  this  explana 
tion  should  be  recorded,  which  was  done  according 
to  the  usage  of  those  times,  by  giving  a  name  to  it, 
signifying  so  much,  v.  34.  they  called  it  Ed,  a  wit¬ 
ness,  to  that  and  no  more.  A  witness  of  the  relation 
they  stood  in  to  God  and  Israel,  and  of  their  concur¬ 
rence  with  the  rest  of  the  tribes  in  the  same  common 
faith,  that  Jehovah  he  is  God,  he  and  no  other.  It 
was  a  witness  to  posterity  of  their  care  to  transmit 
their  religion  pure  and  entire  to  them,  and  would 
be  a  witness  against  them  if  ever  they  should  forsake 
God,  and  turn  from  following  after  him. 

CHAP.  XXIII. 

In  this  and  the  following-  chapter  we  have  two  farewell  ser¬ 
mons,  which  Joshua  preached  to  the  people  of  Israel  a 
little  before  his  death.  Had  he  designed  to  gratify  the 
curiosity  of  succeeding  ages,  he  would  rather  have  re¬ 
corded  the  method  of  Israel’s  settlement  in  their  new 
conquests,  their  husbandry,  manufactures,  trade,  cus¬ 
toms,  courts  of  justice,  and  the  constitutions  of  their 
infant  commonwealth,  which  one  would  wish  to  be 
informed  of;  but  that  which  he  intended  in  the  registers 
of  this  book,  was,  to  entail  on  posterity  a  sense  of  reli¬ 
gion  and  their  duty  to  God;  and  therefore,  overlooking 
these  things  which  are  the  usual  subjects  of  a  common 
history,  he  here  transmits  to  his  reader  the  methods  he 
took  to  persuade  Israel  to  be  faithful  to  their  covenant 
with  their  God,  which  might  have  a  good  influence  on  the 
generations  to  come  who  should  read  those  reasonings, 
as  we  may  hope  they  had  on  that  generation  which  then 
heard  them.  In  this  chapter  we  nave,  I.  A  convention 
of  the  states  called,  v.  1,  2.  probably  to  consult  about 
the  common  concerns  of  their  land,  and  to  set  in  order 
that  which,  after  some  years’  trial,  being  left  to  their 
prudence,  was  found  wanting.  II.  Joshua’s  speech  to 
them  at  the  opening,  or  perhaps,  at  the  concluding,  of 
the  sessions,  to  hear  which  w  as  the  principal  design  of 
their  coming  together.  In  it,  1.  Joshua  reminds  them 
of  what  God  had  done  for  them,  v.  3,  4,  9,  14.  and  what 
he  was  ready  to  do  yet  further,  v.  5,  10.  2.  He  exhorts 

them  carefully  and  resolutely  to  persevere  in  their  auty 
to  God,  v.  6,  8,  11.  III.  He  cautions  them  against  all 
familiarity  with  their  idolatrous  inmates,  v.  7.  IV.  He 
gives  them  fair  warning  of  the  fatal  consequences  of  it, 
if  they  should  revolt  from  God  and  turn  to  idols,  v.  12, 
13,  13,  16.  In  all  which  he  showed  himself  zealous  for 
his  God,  and  jealous  over  Israel  with  a  godly  jealousy. 

1.  A  ND  it  came  to  pass,  a  long  time  af- 
A  ter  that  the  Lord  had  given  rest 
unto  Israel  from  all  their  enemies  round 
about,  that  Joshua  waxed  old  and  stricken 
in  age.  2.  And  Joshua  called  for  all  Israel, 
and  for  their  elders,  and  for  their  heads,  and 
for  their  judges,  and  for  their  officers,  and 
said  unto  them,  I  am  old  and  stricken  in 
age:  3.  And  ye  have  seen  all  that  the 
Lord  your  God  hath  done  unto  all  these 
nations  because  of  you :  for  the  Lord  your 
God  is  he  that  hath  fought  for  you.  4.  Be¬ 
hold,  I  have  divided  unto  you  by  lot  these 
nations  that  remain,  to  be  an  inheritance  for 
your  tribes,  from  Jordan,  with  all  the  nations 
that  I  have  cut  off,  even  unto  the  great  sea 
westward.  5.  And  the  Lord  your  God, 
he  shall  expel  them  from  before  you,  and 
drive  them  from  out  of  your  sight;  and  ye 
shall  possess  their  land,  as  the  Lord  your 
God  hath  promised  unto  you  6.  Be  ye 


94 


JOSHUA,  xxin. 


therefore  vorv  courageous,  to  keep  aud  to  do 
all  that  is  written  in  the  book  of  the  law  of 
M  oses,  that  ye  turn  not  aside  therefrom  to 
the  right  hand  or  to  the  left ;  7.  That  ye 

come  not  among  these  nations,  these  that 
remain  among  you  ;  neither  make  mention 
of  the  name  of  their  gods,  nor  cause  to 
swear  by  them ,  neither  serve  them,  nor  bow 
yourselves  unto  them :  3.  But  cleave  unto 

the  Lord  your  God,  as  ye  have  done  unto 
this  day.  9.  For  the  Lord  hath  driven  out 
from  before  you  great  nations  and  strong : 
but  ns  for  you,  no  man  hath  been  able  to 
stand  before  you  unto  this  day.  10.  One 
man  of  you  shall  chase  a  thousand  :  for  the 
Lord  your  God,  he  it  is  that  fighteth  for 
you,  as  he  hath  promised  you. 

As  to  the  date  of  this  edict  of  Joshua’s, 

I.  No  mention  at  all  is  made  of  the  place  where 
this  general  assembly  was  held;  some  think  it  was 
at  Timnath-serah,  Joshua’s  own  city,  where  he 
lived,  and  whence,  being  old,  he  could  not  well  re¬ 
move:  but  it  does  not  appear  that  he  took  so  much 
state  upon  him,  therefore  it  is  more  probable  this 
meeting  was  at  Shiloh,  where  the  tabernacle  of 
meeting  was,  and  to  which  place,  perhaps,  all  the 
males  that  could,  were  now  come  up  to  worship  be¬ 
fore  the  Lord,  at  one  of  the  three  great  feasts, 
which  Joshua  took  the  opportunity  of,  for  the  deli¬ 
vering  of  this  charge  to  them. 

II.  There  is  only  a  general  mention  of  the  time 
when  this  was  done.  It  was  long  after  the  Lord 
had  given  them  rest,  but  it  is  not  said  how  long,  v. 
1.  It  was,  1.  So  long  as  that  Israel  had  time  to  feel 
the  comforts  ol  their  rest  and  possessions  in  Canaan, 
and  to  enjoy  the  advantages  of  that  good  land.  2. 
So  long  as  that  Joshua  had  time  to  observe  which 
way  their  danger  lav  of  being  corrupted,  namely,  by 
their  intimacy  with  the  Canaanites,  that  remained, 
against  which  he  is  therefore  careful  to  arm  them. 

III.  The  persons  to  whom  Joshua  made  this 
speech,  to  all  Israel,  even  their  elders,  8tc.  So  it 
might  be  read,  v.  2.  they  could  not  all  come  within 
hearing,  but  he  called  for  all  the  elders,  that  is,  the 
privy-counsellors,  which  in  latter  times  constituted 
the  great  Sanhedrim,  the  heads  of  the  tribes,  that 

is,  the  noblemen  and  gentlemen  of  their  respective 
countries,  the  judges  learned  in  the  laws,  that  tried 
criminals  and  causes,  and  gave  judgment  upon 
them — and,  lastly,  the  officers  or  sheriffs,  who  were 
intrusted  with  the  execution  of  those  judgments. 
These  Joshua  called  together,  and  to  them  he  ad¬ 
dressed  himself,  1.  That  they  might  communicate 
what  he  said,  or  at  least  the  sense  and  substance  of 

it,  to  those  under  them  in  their  respective  countries, 
and  so  this  charge  might  be  dispersed  through  the 
whole  nation.  2.  Because  if  they  would  be  prevail¬ 
ed  with  to  serve  God  and  cleave  to  him,  they,  by 
their  influence  on  the  common  people,  would  keep 
them  right.  If  great  men  be  good  men,  they  will 
help  to  make  many  good  men. 

IV.  Joshua’s  circumstances  when  he  gave  them 
this  charge;  he  was  old  and  stricken  in  age,  v.  1. 
probably,  it  was  in  the  last  year  of  his  life,  and  he 
lived  to  be  one  hundred  and  ten  years  old,  ch.  24.  29. 
And  he  himself  takes  notice  of  it,  in  the  first  words 
of  his  discourse,  v.  2.  when  he  began  to  be  old,  some 
years  ago,  God  reminded  him  of  it,  ch.  13.  1, 
Thou  art  old.  But  now  that  he  did  himself  feel  so 
much  of  the  decavs  of  age  that  he  needed  not  to  be 
told  of  it,  he  readily  speaks  of  it  himself,  lam  old 


and  stricken  in  age.  He  uses  it,  1.  As  an  argument 
with  himself  to  give  them  this  charge,  because  be¬ 
ing  old  he  could  expect  to  be  but  a  little  while  with 
them  to  advise  and  instruct  them,  and  therefore 
(as  St.  Peter  speaks,  2  Pet.  1.  13.)  as  long  as  he  is 
in  this  tabernacle ,  he  will  take  all  opportunities  to 
put  them  in  remembrance  of  their  duty,  knowing 
by  the  increasing  infirmities  of  age,  that  he  must 
shortly  put  off  this  tabernacle,  and  desiring  that  af¬ 
ter  his  decease  they  might  continue  as  good  as  they 
were  now.  When  we  see  death  hastening  towards 
us,  that  should  quicken  us  to  do  the  work  of  dfe 
with  all  our  might.  2.  As  an  argument  with  them 
to  give  heed  to  what  he  said.  He  was  old  and  ex¬ 
perienced,  and  therefore  to  be  the  more  regarded, 
for  days  should  speak;  he  was  grown  old  m  their 
service,  and  had  spent  himself  for  their  good,  and 
therefore  was  to  be  the  more  regarded  by  them. 
He  was  old  and  dying,  they  would  not  have  him 
long  to  preach  to  them,  therefore  let  them  observe 
what  he  said  now,  and  lay  it  up  in  store  for  the 
time  to  come. 

V.  The  discourse  itself,  the  scope  of  which  is  to 
engage  them,  if  possible,  them,  and  their  seed  after 
them,  to  persevere  in  the  true  faith  and  worship  of 
the  God  of  Israel. 

1.  He  puts  them  in  mind  of  the  great  things  God 
had  done  for  them,  now  in  his  days,  and  under  his 
administration,  for  here  he  goes  no  further  back. 
And  for  the  proof  of  this,  he  appeals  to  their  own 
eves,  x'.  3,  “  Ye  have  seen  all  that  the  Lord  your 

Clod  hath  done,  not  what  I  have  done,  oT  what  you 
have  done,  we  were  only  instruments  in  God’s  hand, 
but  what  God  himself  has  done  by  me,  and  for  you.” 
(1.)  “  Many  great  and  mighty  nations  (as  the  rate  of 
nations  then  went)  were  driven  out  from  as  fine  a 
country  as  any  was  at  that  time  upon  the  face  of  the 
earth,  to  make  room  for  Israel.”  “You  see  what 
he  has  done  to  these  nations  who  were  his  creatures, 
the  work  of  his  hands,  and  whom  he  could  have 
made  new  creatures,  and  fit  for  his  service;  yet  see 
what  destruction  he  has  made  of  them  because  of 
you,  v.  3.  how  he  has  driven  them  out  from  before 
you,  v.  9.  as  if  they  were  of  no  account  with  him, 
though  great  and  strong  in  comparison  with  you.” 
(2.)  They  were  not  only  driven  out,  (that  they 
might  have  been,  and  yet  sent  to  some  other  coun¬ 
try  less  rich,  to  begin  a  new  plantation  there,  sup¬ 
pose  to  that  wilderness  in  wit  fch  Israel  had  wander¬ 
ed  so  long,  and  so  they  had  only  exchanged  seats 
with  them,)  but  they  were  trodden  down  before 
them;  though  they  held  out  against  them  with  the 
greatest  obstinacy  that  could  be,  yet  they  were 
subdued  before  them,  which  made  the  possessing 
of  their  land  so  much  the  more  glorious  to  Israel, 
and  so  much  the  more  illustrious  an  instance  of  the 
power  and  goodness  of  the  God  of  Israel,  v.  3. 
“  The  Lord  your  God  has  not  only  led  you,  and  fed 
you,  and  kept  you,  but  he  has  fought  for  you  as  a 
man  of  war,  by  which  title  he  was  known  among 
them  when  he  first  brought  them  out  of  Egypt, 
Exod.  15.  3.  So  clear  and  cheap  were  all  their 
victories  during  the  course  of  th)s  long  war,  that  no 
man  had  been  able  to  stand  before  them,  v.  9.  that  is, 
to  make  head  against  them,  so  as  either  to  put 
them  in  fear,  create  them  any  difficulty,  or  give 
any  check  to  the  progress  of  their  victorious  arms. 
In  every  battle  they  carried  the  day,  and  in  every 
siege  they  carried  the  city;  their  loss  before  Ai  was 
upon  a  particular  occasion,  was  inconsiderable,  and 
only  served  to  show  them  on  what  terms  thev  stood 
with  God;  but  otherwise,  never  was  army  crowned 
with  such  a  constant  uninterrupted  series  of  succes¬ 
ses,  as  the  armies  of  Israel  were  in  the  wars  of  Ca¬ 
naan.  (3.)  They  had  not  only  conquered  the  Ca 
naanites,  but  were  put  in  full  possession  of  their 
land,  v.  4,  “  I  have  divided  to  you  by  lot  these  na 


95 


JOSHUA,  XXIII. 


tions,  botli  those  which  are  cut  off,  and  those  which  [ 
remain,  not  only  that  you  may  spoil  and  plunder 
them,  and  live  at  discretion  in  them  for  a  time,  but 
to  be  a  sure  and  lasting  inheritance  for  your  tribes. 
You  have  it  not  only  under  your  feet,  but  in  your 
hands.  ” 

2.  He  assures  them  of  God’s  readiness  to  carry 

on,  and  complete,  this  glorious  work  in  due  time.  It 
is  true,  some  of  the  Canaanites  did  yet  remain,  and 
in  some  places  were  strong  and  daring,  but  that 
should  be  no  disappointment  to  their  expectations; 
when  Israel  was  so  multiplied  as  to  be  able  to  re¬ 
plenish  this  land,  God  would  expel  the  Canaanites 
to  the  last  man,  provided  Israel  would  pursue  their 
advantages,  and  carry  on  the  war  against  them  with 
vigour,  v.  5,  “  The  Lord  your  God  will  drive 

them  from  out  of  your  sight,  so  that  there  shall  not 
be  a  Canaanite  to  be  seen  in  the  land;  and  even  that 
part  of  the  country  which  is  yet  in  their  hands,  ye 
shall  possess.  ”  If  it  were  objected,  that,  the  men 
of  war  of  the  several  tribes  being  dispersed  to  their 
respective  countries,  and  the  army  disbanded,  it 
would  be  difficult  to  get  them  together  when  there 
was  occasion  to  renew  the  war  upon  the  remainder 
of  the  Canaanites;  in  answer  to  that,  he  tells  them 
what  little  need  they  had  to  be  in  care  about  the 
numbers  of  their  forces,  v.  10,  One  man  of  you 
shall  chase  a  thousand,  as  Jonathan  did,  1  Sam. 
14.  13.  “  Each  tribe  may  venture  for  itself,  and 

for  the  recovery  of  its  own  lot,  without  fearing  dis¬ 
advantage  by  the  disproportion  of  numbers;  for 
the  Lord  your  God,  whose  all  power  is,  both  to  in- 
spirit  and  to  rfispirit,  and  who  has  all  creatures  at 
his  beck,  he  it  is,  that  fghteth  for  you;  and  how 
many  do  you  reckon  him  for?” 

3.  He  hereupon  most  earnestly  charges  them  to 
adhere  to  their  duty,  to  go  on  and  persevere  in  the 
good  ways  of  the  Lord  wherein  they  were  so  well  set 
out.  He  exhorts  them, 

(1. )  To  be  very  courageous,  v.  6.  “  God  fighteth 
for  you  against  your  enemies,  do  you  therefore  be¬ 
have  yourselves  valiantly  for  him.  Keep  and  do 
with  a  firm  resolution  all  that  is  written  in  the  book 
of  the  law.”  He  presses  upon  them  no  more  than 
what  they  were  already  bound  to.  “Keep  with 
care,  do  with  diligence,  and  eye  what  is  written 
with  sincerity.” 

(2.)  To  be  very  cautious.  “  Take  heed  of  missing 
it,  either  on  the  right  hand,  or  on  the  left,  for  there 
are  errors  and  extremes  on  both  hands.  Take  heed  ; 
of  running  either  into  a  profane  neglect  of  any  of 
God’s  institutions,  or  into  a  superstitious  addition  of 
any  of  your  own  inventions.”  They  must  especially 
take  heed  of  all  approaches  toward  idolatry,  the  sin 
to  which  they  were  first  inclined,  and  wTould  be 
most  tempted,  v.  7.  [1.]  They  must  not  acquaint 

themselves  with  idolaters,  nor  come  among  them  to 
visit  them,  or  be  present  at  any  of  their  feasts  or 
entertainments,  for  they  could  not  contract  any  inti¬ 
macy,  or  keep  up  any  conversation  with  them, 
without  danger  of  infection.  [2.]  They  must  not 
show  the  least  respect  to  any  idol,  nor  make  men¬ 
tion  of  the  name  of  their  Gods,  but  endeavour  to 
bury  the  remembrance  of  them  in  perpetual  obli¬ 
vion,  that  the  worship  of  them  may  never  be  re¬ 
vived;  let  the  very  name  of  them  be  forgotten. 

“  Look  upon  idols  as  filthy  detestable  things,  not  to 
be  named  without  the  utmost  loathing  and  detesta¬ 
tion.”  The  Jews  would  not  suffer  their  children  to 
name  swine’s  flesh,  because  it  was  forbidden,  lest 
the  naming  of  it  should  occasion  their  desiring  of  it; 
but  if  they  had  occasion  to  speak  of  it,  they  must 
call  it,  that  strange  thing.  It  is.  pity,  that  among 
Christians  the  names  of  the  heathen  gods  are  so ' 
commonly  used,  and  made  so  familiar  as  they  are, 
especially  in  plays  and  poems:  Let  these  names 
which  have  been  set  up  in  rivalship  with  God,  be 


for  ever  loathed  and  lost.  [3.]  They  must  not 
countenance  others  in  showing  respect  to  them. 
They  must  not  only  not  swear  by  them  themselves, 
but  they  must  not  cause  others  to  swear  by  them, 
which  supposes  that  they  must  not  make  any  cove¬ 
nants  with  idolaters,  because  they,  in  the  confirming 
of  their  covenants,  would  swear  by  their  idols;  ne\  er 
let  Israelites  admit  such  an  oath.  [4.]  They  must 
take  heed  of  these  occasions  of  idolatry,  lest  by  de¬ 
grees  they  should  arrive  at  the  highest  step  of  it, 
which  was  serving  false  gods,  and  bowing  down  to 
them,  against  the  letter  of  the  second  command¬ 
ment. 

(3.)  To  be  very  constant,  v.  8.  Cleave  unto  the 
Lord  your  God,  that  is,  “  delight  in  him,  depend 
upon  him,  devote  yourseh  es  to  his  glory,  and  con¬ 
tinue  to  do  so  to  the  end,  as  you  have  done  unto 
this  day,  ever  since  you  came  to  Canaan;”  for,  being 
willing  to  make  the  best  of  them,  he  looks  not  so 
far  back  as  the  iniquity  of  Pec  r.  There  might  be 
many  things  amiss  among  them,  but  they  had  not 
forsaken  the  Lord  their  God,  and  it  is  in  order  to 
insinuate  his  exhortation  to  perseverance  wTith  the 
more  pleasing  power,  that  he  praises  them.  “  Go 
on  and  prosper,  for  the  Lord  is  with  you  while  you 
are  with  him.”  Those  that  command,  should  com¬ 
mend;  the  way  to  make  people  better,  is,  to  make 
the  best  of  them.  “  You  have  cleaved  to  the  Lord 
unto  this  day,  therefore  go  on  to  do  so,  else  you  lose 
the  praise  and  recompense  of  what  you  ha\e 
wrought.  Your  righteousness  will  not  be  mentioned 
unto  you,  if  you  turn  from  it.  ” 

11.  Take  good  heed  therefore  unto  your¬ 
selves,  that  ye  love  the  Lord  your  God.  12. 
Else  if  ye.  do  in  any  wise  go  back,  and 
cleave  unto  the  remnant  of  these  nations, 
even  these  that  remain  among  you,  and 
shall  make  marriages  with  them,  and  go  in 
unto  them,  and  they  to  you :  1 3.  Know  for 
a  certainty  that  the  Lord  your  God  will 
no  more  drive  out  any  of  these  nations  from 
before  you ;  but  they  shall  be  snares  and 
traps  unto  you,  and  scourges  in  your  sides, 
and  thorns  in  your  eyes,  until  ye  perish  from 
off  this  good  land,  which  the  Lord  your  God 
hath  given  you.  14.  And,  behold,  this  day 
I  am  going  the  way  of  all  the  earth :  and  ye 
know  in  all  your  hearts,  and  in  all  your 
souls,  that  not  one  thing  hath  failed  of  all 
the  good  things  which  the  Lord  your  God 
spake  concerning  you ;  all  are  come  to  pass 
unto  you,  and  not  one  thing  hath  failed 
thereof.  15.  Therefore  it  shall  come  to 
pass,  that  as  all  good  things  are  come  upon 
you,  which  the  Lord  your  God  promised 
you  ;  so  shall  the  Lord  bring  upon  you  all 
evil  things,  until  he  have  destroyed  you  from 
off  this  good  land  which  the  Lord  your 
God  hath  given  you.  16.  When  ye  have 
transgressed  the  covenant  of  the  Lord 
your  God,  which  he  commanded  you,  and 
have  gone  and  served  other  gods,  and  bow¬ 
ed  yourselves  to  them ;  then  shall  the  anger 
of  the  Lord  be  kindled  against  you,  and  ye 
shall  perish  quickly  from  off  the  good  land 
which  he  hath  given  unto  you. 

Here, 


%  JOSHUA,  XXIV. 


I.  Joshua  directs  them  what  to  do,  that  they 
might  persevere  in  religion,  v.  11.  Would  we 
cleave  to  the  Lord,  and  not  forsake  him,  1.  We 
must  always  stand  upon  our  guard,  for  many  a  pre¬ 
cious  soul  is  lost  and  ruined  through  carelessness; 
“Take  heed  therefoi'e,  take  good  heed  to  your¬ 
selves,  to  your  souls,  (so  the  word  is,)  that  the  in¬ 
ward  man  be  kept  clean  from  the  pollutions  of  sin, 
and  closely  employed  in  the  service  of  God.  God 
has  given  us  precious  souls,  with  this  charge, 
“  Take  good  heed  to  them,  keep  them  with  all  di¬ 
ligence,  above  all  keepings.”  2.  What  we  do  in  re¬ 
ligion,  we  must  do  from  a  principal  of  love,  not  by 
constraint  or  from  a  slavish  fear  of  God,  but  of 
choice  and  with  delight.  “  Love  the  Lord  your 
God,  and  you  will  not  leave  him.” 

II.  He  urges  God’s  fidelity  to  them  as  an  argu¬ 
ment  why  they  should  be  faithful  to  him,  v.  14,  “7 
am  going  the  way  of  all  the  earth,  I  am  old  and  dy¬ 
ing:”  to  die,  is  to  go  a  journey,  a  journey  to  our 
long  home;  it  is  the  way  of  all  the  earth,  the  way 
that  all  mankind  must  go,  sooner  or  later.  Joshua 
himself,  though  so  great  and  good  a  man,  and  one 
that  could  so  ill  be  spared,  cannot  be  exempted 
from  this  common  lot.  He  takes  notice  of  it  here, 
that  they  might  look  upon  these  as  his  dying  words, 
and  regard  them  accordingly.  Or  thus,  “  7  am  dy¬ 
ing,  and  leaving  you,  me  ye  have  not  always,  but  if 
you  cleave  to  the  Lord,  he  will  never  leave  you.” 
Or  thus,  “  Now  that  I  am  near  my  end,  it  is  proper 
to  look  back  upon  the  years  that  are  past;  and  in 
the  review,  I  find,  and  ye  yourselves  know  it  in  all 
your  hearts,  and  in  all  your  souls,  by  a  full  convic¬ 
tion  on  the  clearest  evidence,  and  the  thing  has 
made  an  impression  upon  you,”  (that  knowledge 
does  us  good,  which  is  seated,  not  in  the  head  only, 
but  in  the  heart  and  soul,  and  with  which  we  are 
duly  affected,)  “ye  know  that  not  one  thing  hath 
failed,  of  all  the  good  things  which  the  Lord sfiake 
concerning  you;”  (and  he  speaks  a  great  many;) 
see  cli.  21.  45.  God  had  promised  them  victory, 
rest,  plenty,  his  tabernacle  among  them,  c.  and 
not  one  thing  had  failed  of  all  he  had  promised. 
“Now,”  said  he,  “  has  God  been  thus  true  to  you? 
Be  not  you  false  to  him.”  It  is  the  apostle’s  argu¬ 
ment  for  perseverance,  Heb.  10.  23,  He  is  faithful 
that  has  promised. 

III.  He  gives  them  fair  warning,  what  would  be 
the  fatal  consequences  of  apostasy,  v.  12, 13,  15,  16. 
“  If  you  go  back,  know  for  a  certainty  it  will  be 
your  ruin.  ”  Observe, 

1.  How  he  describes  the  apostasy  which  he 
warns  them  against.  The  steps  of  it  would  be,  v. 
12.  growing  intimate  with  idolaters,  who  would 
craftily  wheedle  them,  and  insinuate  themselves 
into  their  acquaintance,  now  that  they  were  be¬ 
come  lords  of  the  country,  to  serve  their  own  ends. 
The  next  step  would  be  intermarrying  with  them, 
drawn  to  it  by  their  artifices,  who  would  be  glad  to 
bestow  their  children  upon  these  wealthy  Israelites. 
And  the  consequence  of  that  would  be,  v.  16.  serv¬ 
ing  their  gods,  (which  were  pretended  to  be  the 
ancient  deities  of  the  country,)  and  bowing  down  to 
them.  Thus  the  way  of  sin  is  down-hill,  and  those 
who  have  fellowship  with  sinners,  cannot  avoid 
having  fellowship  with  sin.  This  he  represents,  ( 1. ) 
As  a  base  and  shameful  desertion ;  “  it  is  going  back 
from  what  you  have  so  well  begun,”  v.  12.  (2.) 

As  a  most  perfidious  breach  of  promise,  v.  16.  “  It 
is  a  transgression  of  the  covenant  of  the  Lord  your 
God,  which  he  commanded  you,  and  which  you 
yourselves  set  your  hand  to.”  Other  sins  were 
transgressions  of  the  law  God  commanded  them, 
but  this  was  a  transgression  of  the  covenant  that  he 
commanded  them,  and  amounted  to  a  breach  of  the 
relation  between  God  and  them,  and  a  forfeiture  of 
all  the  benefits  of  the  covenant. 


2.  How  he  describes  the  destruction  which  he 
warns  them  of.  He  tells  them,  (1.)  That  these 
remainders  of  the  Canaanites,  if  they  should  har¬ 
bour  them,  and  indulge  them,  and  join  in  affinity 
with  them,  would  be  snares  and  traps  to  them,  both 
to  draw  them  to  sin,  (not  only  to  idolatry,  but  to  all 
immoralities,  which  would  be  the  ruin,  not  only  of 
their  virtue,  but  of  their  wisdom  and  sense,  their 
spirit  and  honour,)  and  also  to  draw  them  into  fool¬ 
ish  bargains,  unprofitable  projects,  and  all  manner 
of  inconveniences;  and  having  thus  by  underhand 
practices  decoyed  them  into  one  mischief  or  other, 
so  as  to  gain  advantages  against  them,  they  would 
then  act  more  openly,  and  be  scourges  in  their 
sides,  and  thorns  in  their  eyes,  would  perhaps  kill 
or  drive  away  their  cattle,  burn  or  steal  their  com, 
alarm  or  plunder  their  houses,  and  would  by  all 
ways  possible  be  vexatious  to  them :  for,  whatever 
pretences  of  friendship  they  might  make,  a  Ca- 
naanite,  unless  proselyted  to  the  faith  and  worship 
of  the  true  God,  would  in  every  age  hate  the  very 
name  and  sight  of  an  Israelite.  See  how  the  punish¬ 
ment  would  be  made  to  answer  the  sin,  nay,  how 
the  sin  itself  would  be  the  punishment.  (2.)  That 
the  anger  of  the  Lord  would  be  kindled  against 
them.  Their  making  leagues  with  the  Canaanites, 
would  not  only  give  them  the  opportunity  of  doing 
them  a  mischief,  and  be  the  fostering  of  snakes  in 
their  bosoms,  it  would  likewise  provoke  God  to  be¬ 
come  their  enemy,  and  would  kindle  the  fire  of  his 
displeasure  against  them.  (3.)  That  all  the  threat- 
enings  of  the  word  would  be  fulfilled,  as  the  pro¬ 
mises  had,  for  the  God  of  eternal  truth  is  faithful  to 
both,  v.  15.  “  As  all  good  things  have  come  upon 

you  according  to  the  promise,  so  long  as  you  have 
kept  close  to  God,  so  all  evil  things  will  come  upon 
you  according  to  the  threatening,  if  you  forsake 
him.”  Moses  had  set  before  them  good  and  evil; 
they  had  experienced  the  good,  and  were  now  in 
the  enjoyment  of  it,  and  the  evil  would  as  certainly 
come,  if  they  were  disobedient.  As  God’s  promises 
are  not  a  fool’s  paradise,  so  his  threatenings  are  not 
bugbears.  (4. )  That  it  would  end  in  the  utter  ruin 
of  their  church  and  nation,  as  Moses  had  foretold. 
This  is  three  times  mentioned  here.  Your  enemies 
will  vex  you  until  ye  perish  from  off  this  good  land, 
v.  13.  Again,  “  God  will  plague  you  until  he  have 
destroy edyou  from  off  this  good  land,  v.  15.  Heaven 
and  earth  will  concur  to  root  you  out.  So  that,  v. 
16,  ye  shall  perish  from  off  the  good  land.  ”  It  will 
aggravate  their  perdition,  that  the  land  from  which 
they  shall  perish,  is  a  good  land,  and  a  land  which 
God  himself  had  given  them,  and  which  therefore 
he  would  have  secured  to  them,  if  they  by  their 
wickedness  had  not  thrown  themselves  out  of  it 
Thus  the  goodness  of  the  heavenly  Canaan,  and 
the  free  and  future  grant  God  has  made  of  it,  will 
aggravate  the  misery  of  those  that  shall  for  ever  be 
shut  out  and  perish  from  it.  Nothing  will  make 
them  see  how  wretched  they  are,  so  much  as  to  see 
how  happy  they  might  have  been.  Joshua  thus 
sets  before  them  the  fatal  consequences  of  their 
apostasy,  that,  knowing  the  terror  of  the  Lord, 
they  might  be  persuaded  with  purpose  of  heart  to 
cleave  to  him. 

CHAP.  XXIV. 

This  chapter  concludes  the  life  and  reign  of  Joshua^in 
which  we  have,  1.  The  great  care  and  pains  he  took  to 
confirm  the  people  of  Israel  in  the  true  faith  and  worship 
of  God,  that  they  might,  after  his  death,  persevere  there¬ 
in.  In  order  to  this,  he  called  another  general  assembly 
of  the  heads  of  the  congregation  of  Israel,  v.  1.  and  dealt 
with  them,  1.  By  way  of  narrative,  recounting  the 
great  things  God  had  done  for  them  and  their  fathers,,  v. 
2.. 13.  2.  By  way  of  charge  to  them,  in  consideration 

thereof,  to  serve  God,  v.  14.  3.  By  wav  of  treaty  with 
them,  wherein  he  aims  to  bring  them,  (1.)  To  make  rcli 


JOSHUA,  XXIV. 


gion  their  deliberate  choice;  and  they  did  so,  with  rea¬ 
sons  for  their  choice,  v.  15- .18.  (2.)  To  make  it  their 

determinate  choice,  and  to  resolve  to  adhere  to  it,  v.  19 
..24.  4.  By  way  of  covenant  upon  that  treaty,  v.  25.. 

28.  II.  The  conclusion  of  this  history,  with,  1.  The 
death  and  burial  of  Joshua,  v.  29,  30.  and  Eleazar,  v. 
33.  and  the  mention  of  the  burial  of  Joseph’s  bones  upon 
that  occasion,  v.  32.  2.  A  general  account  of  the  State 
of  Israel  at  that  time,  v.  31. 

1.  |  ND  Joshua  gathered  all  the  tribes  of 
JTlL  Israel  to  Shechem,  and  called  for  the 
elders  of  Israel,  and  for  their  heads,  and  for 
their  judges,  and  for  their  officers ;  and  they 
presented  themselves  before  God.  2.  And 
Joshua  said  unto  all  the  people,  Thus  saith 
the  Lord  God  of  Israel,  Your  fathers 
dwelt  on  the  other  side  of  the  flood  in  old 
time,  even  Terah,  the  father  of  Abraham, 
and  the  father  of  Nachor:  and  they  served 
other  gods.  3.  And  I  took  your  father 
Abraham  from  the  other  side  of  the  flood, 
and  led  him  throughout  all  the  land  of  Ca¬ 
naan,  and  multiplied  his  seed,  and  gave  him 
Isaac.  4.  And  1  gave  unto  Isaac,  Jacob 
and  Esau ;  and  1  gave  unto  Esau  mount 
Seir,  to  possess  it :  but  Jacob  and  his  chil¬ 
dren  went  down  into  Egypt.  5.  I  sent  Mo¬ 
ses  also  and  Aaron,  and  1  plagued  Egypt, 
according  to  that  which  I  did  among  them : 
and  afterward  I  brought  you  out.  6.  And 
I  brought  your  fathers  out  of  Egypt :  and 
you  came  unto  the  sea;  and  the  Egyptians 
pursued  after  your  fathers  with  chariots  and 
horsemen  unto  the  Red  Sea.  7.  And  when 
they  cried  unto  the  Lord,  he  put  darkness 
between  you  and  the  Egyptians,  and 
brought  the  sea  upon  them,  and  covered 
them :  and  your  eyes  have  seen  what 
I  have  done  in  Egypt :  and  ye  dwelt 
in  the  wilderness  a  long  season.  8.  And 
I  brought  you  into  the  land  of  the  Am- 
orites,  which  dwelt  on  the  other  side 
Jordan ;  and  they  fought  with  you :  and  I 
gave  them  into  your  hand,  that  ye  might 
possess  their  land ;  and  I  destroyed  them 
from  before  you.  9.  Then  Balak  the  son 
of  Zippor,  king  of  Moab,  arose  and  warred 
against  Israel,  and  sent  and  called  Balaam 
the  son  of  Beor  to  curse  you  :  10.  But  I 

would  not  hearken  unto  Balaam  ;  therefore 
he  blessed  you  still:  so  I  delivered  you  out 
of  his  hand.  1 1.  And  ye  went  over  Jordan, 
and  came  unto  Jericho :  and  the  men  of 
Jericho  fought  against  you,  the  Amorites, 
and  the  Perizzites,  and  the  Canaanites, 
and  th^  Hittites,  and  the  Girgashites,  the 
Hivites,  and  the  Jebusites ;  and.  I  delivered 
them  into  your  hand.  12.  And  I  sent  the 
hornet  before  you,  which  drave  them  out 
from  before  you,  even  the  two  kings  of  the 
Amorites;  but  not  with  thy  sword,  nor  with 
thy  bow.  13.  And  I  have  given  you  a  land 
Vol.  ii.— N 


for  which  ye  did  not  labour,  and  cities  which 
ye  built  not,  and  ye  dwell  in  them;  of  the 
vineyards  and  oliveyards  which  ye  planted 
not,  do  ye  eat.  14.  Now  therefore  fear  the 
L(  rd,  and  serve  him  in  sincerity  and  in 
truth :  and  put  away  the  Gods  which  your 
fathers  served  on  the  other  side  of  the  flood, 
and  in  Egypt ;  and  serve  ye  the  Lord. 

Joshua  thought  he  had  taken  his  last  farewell  of 
Israel,  in  the  solemn  charge  he  gave  them  in  the 
foregoing  chapter,  when  he  said,  I  go  (he  ’way  of 
all  the  earth;  but  God  graciously  continuing  his  life 
longer  than  he  expected,  and  renewing  his  strength, 
he  was  desirous  to  improve  it  for  the  good  of  Israel: 
he  did  not  say,  “  I  have  taken  my  leave  of  them 
once,  and  let  that  serve;”  but,  having  yet  a  longer 
space  given  him,  he  summons  them  together  again, 
that  he  might  try  what  more  he  could  do  to  engage 
them  for  God.  Note,  We  must  never  think  our 
work  for  God  done,  till  our  life  is  done;  and  if  he 
lengthen  out  our  days  beyond  what  we  thought,  we 
must  conclude  it  is  because  he  has  some  further  ser¬ 
vice  for  us  to  do. 

The  assembly  is  the  same  with  that  in  the  fore¬ 
going  chapter,  the  elders,  heads,  judges  and  officers 
of  Israel,  v.  1.  But  it  is  here  made  something 
more  solemn  than  it  was  there. 

I.  The  place  appointed  for  their  meeting  is  She- 
chem,  nr  t  only  because  that  lay  nearer  to  Joshua 
than  Shiloh,  and  therefore  more  convenient  now 
that  he  was  infirm  and  unfit  for  travelling,  but  be¬ 
cause  it  was  the  place  where  Abraham,  the  first 
trustee  of  God’s  co\  enant  with  this  people,  settled 
at  his  coming  to  Canaan,  and  where  God  appeared 
to  him,  Gen.  12.  6,  7.  and  near  which  stood  mount 
Ger'zim  and  Ebal,  where  the  people  had  renewed 
their  covenant  with  God  at  their  first  coming  into 
Canaan,  Josh.  8.  30.  Of  the  promises  God  had 
made  to  their  fathers,  and  of  the  promsies  they 
themselves  had  made  to  God,  this  place  might  serve 
to  put  them  in  mind. 

II.  They  presented  themselves,  not  only  before 
Joshua,  but  before  God,  in  this  assembly;  that  is, 
they  came  together  in  a  solemn  religious  manner, 
as  into  the  special  presence  of  God,  and  with  an  eye 
to  him  speaking  to  them  by  Joshua;  and,  it  is  pro¬ 
bable,  the  service  began  with  prayer.  It  is  the 
conjecture  of  interpreters,  that  upon  this  great  oc¬ 
casion,  Joshua  ordered  the  ark  rf  God  to  be  brought 
by  the  priests  to  Shechem,  which,  they  say,  was 
but,  about  ten  miles  from  Shiloh,  and  to  be  set  down 
in  the  place  of  their  meeting,  which  is  therefore 
called,  v.  26,  the  sanctuary  of  the  Lord,  the  pre¬ 
sence  (  f  the  ark  making  it  so  at  that  time;  and  this 
was  done  to  grace  the  solemnity,  and  to  strike  an 
awe  upon  the  people  that  attended.  We  have  not 
now  any  such  sensible  tokens  of  the  divine  pre¬ 
sence,  but  are  to  believe  that  \vhere  two  or  three 
are  gathered  together  in  Christ’s  name,  he  is  as 
really  in  the  midst  of  them,  as  God  was  where  the 
ark  was,  and  they  are  indeed  presenting  them¬ 
selves  before  him. 

III.  Joshua  spake  to  them  in  God’s  name,  and  as 
from  him,  in  the  language  of  a  prophet,  v.  2. 

“  Thus  saith  the  Lord,  Jehovah,  the  great  God, 
and  the  God  of  Israel,  your  God  in  covenant,  whom 
therefore  you  are  bound  to  hear  and  give  heed  to.” 
Note,  The  word  of  God  is  to  be  received  by  us  as 
his,  whoever  is  the  messenger  that  brings  it,  whose 
greatness  cannot  add  to  it,  nor  his  meanness  dimin¬ 
ish  from  it. 

His  sermon  consists  of  doctrine  and  application. 

1.  The  doctrinal  part  is  a  history  of  the  °re  it 
things  God  had  done  for  his  people,  and  for  th?ir 


9 


JOSHUA,  XXIV. 


fathei-s  before  them.  God  by  Joshua  recounts  the 
marvels  of  old,  “I  did  so  and  so.”  They  must 
know  and  consider,  not  only  that  such  and  such 
things  were  done,  but  that  God  did  them.  It  is  a 
series  of  wonders  that  is  here  recorded,  and  perhaps 
many  moi-e  were  mentioned  by  Joshua,  which  for 
brevity’s  sake  are  here  omitted.  See  what  God 
had  wrought;  (1.)  He  brought  Abraham  out  of  Ur 
of  the  Chaldees,  v.  2,  3.  He  and  his  ancestors  had 
served  other  gods  there,  for  it  was  the  country  in 
which,  thoirgh  celebrated  for  learning,  idolatry,  as 
some  think,  had  its  rise;  there  the  world  by  wisdom 
knew  not  God.  Abraham,  who  afterward  was  the 
friend  cf  God,  and  the  great  favourite  of  heaven, 
was  bred  up  in  idolatry  and  lived  long  in  it,  till  God 
by  his  grace  snatched  him  as  a  brand  out  of  that 
burning.  Let  them  remember  that  rock  out  of 
which  they  were  hewn,  and  not  relapse  into  that 
sin  from  which  their  fathers  by  a  miracle  of  free 
grace  were  delivered.  “  I  took  him,”  says  God, 
“else  he  had  never  come  out  of  that  sinful  state.” 
Hence  Abraham’s  justification  is  made  by  the  apos¬ 
tle  an  instance  of  God’s  justifying  the  ungodly , 
Rom.  4.  5.  (2.)  He  brought  him  to  Canaan,  and 

built  up  his  family,  led  him  through  the  land  to 
Shechem,  where  they  now  were,  multiplied  his 
seed  by  Ishmael,  who  begat  twelve  princes,  but  at 
last  gave  him  Isaac  the  pronvsed  son,  aryl  in  him 
multiplied  his  seed.  When  Isaac  had  two  sons,  Jacob 
and  Esau,  God  provided  an  inheritance  for  Esau 
elsewhere  in  Mount  Seir,  that  the  land  of  Canaan 
might  be  reserved  entire  for  the  seed  of  Jacob,  and 
the  posterity  of  Esau  might  not  pretend  to  a  share  in 
it.  (3. )  He  delivered  the  seed  of  Jacob  out  of  Egypt 
with  a  high  hand,  v.  5,  6.  and  rescued  them  out  of  the 
hands  of  Pharaoh  and  his  host  at  the  Red-sea,  v. 
6,  7.  The  same  waters  were  the  Israelites’  guard, 
and  the  Egyptians’  grave;  and  this  in  answer  to 
prayer;  for  though  we  find  in  the  story,  that 
they  in  that  distress  murmured  against  God, 
Exod.  14.  11,  12.  notice  is  here  taken  of  their  cry¬ 
ing  to  God;  he  graciously  accepted  those  that  pray¬ 
ed  to  him,  and  overlooked  the  folly  of  those  that 
quarrelled  with  him.  (4.)  He  protected  them  in 
the  wilderness,  where  they  are  here  said,  not  to 
wander,  but  to  dwell  for  a  long  season,  v.  7.  So 
wisely  were  all  their  motions  directed,  and  so  safely 
were  they  kept,  that  even  there  they  had  as  certain 
a  dwelling  place  as  if  they  had  been  in  a  walled 
city.  (5.  )  He  gave  them  the  land  of  the  Amorites, 
on  the  other  side  Jordan,  ?>.  8.  and  there  defeated 
the  plot  of  Balak  and  Balaam  against  them,  so  that 
Balaam  could  not  curse  them,  as  he  desired,  and 
therefore  Balak  durst  not  fight  them,  as  he  de¬ 
signed,  and,  because  he  designed  it,  is  here  said  to 
do  it.  The  turning  of  Balaam’s  tongue  to  bless  Is¬ 
rael,  when  he  intended  to  curse  them,  is  often  men¬ 
tioned  as  an  instance  of  the  divine  power  put  forth 
in  Israel’s  favour,  as  remarkable  as  any  other,  be¬ 
cause  in  it  God  proved  (and  does  still,  more  than 
we  are  aware  of)  his  dominion  over  the  powers  of 
darkness,  and  over  the  spirits  of  men.  (6.)  He 
brought  them  safely  and  triumphantly  into  Canaan, 
delivered  the  Canaanites  into  their  hand,  v.  11,  sent 
hornets  before  them,  when  they  were  actually  enga¬ 
ged  in  battle  with  the  enemy,  which  with  their 
stings  tormented  them,  and  with  their  noise  terri¬ 
fied  them,  so  that  thev  became  a  very  easy  prey  to 
Israel.  These  dreadful  swarms  first  appeared  in 
their  war  with  Sihon  and  Og,  the  two  kings  of 
the  Amorites,  and  afterwards  in  their  other  bat¬ 
tles,  v.  12.  God  had  promised  to  do  this  for  them, 
Exod.  23.  27,  28.  Deut.  7.  20.  These  hornets,  it 
should  seem,  annoyed  the  enemy  more  than  all  the 
artillery  of  Israel,  therefore  he  adds,  not  with  thy 
- word  nor  bow.  It  was  purely  the  Lord’s  doings. 
iMst/y,  They  were  now  in  the  peaceable  possess¬ 


ion  of  a  good  land,  and  lived  comfortably  upon  the 
fruit  of  other  people’s  labour,  v.  13. 

2.  The  application  of  this  history  of  God’s  mer¬ 
cies  to  them,  is  by  way  of  exhortation,  to  fear  and 
serve  God,  in  gratitude  for  his  favour,  and  that  it 
might  be  continued  to  them,  v.  14.  Now  therefore, 
in  consideration  of  all  this,  (1.)  “  Fear  the  Lord, 
the  Lord  and  his  goodness,  Hos.  3.  5.  Reverence 
a  God  of  such  infinite  power,  fear  to  offend  him,  and 
to  forfeit  his  goodness.  Keep  up  an  awe  of  his  ma¬ 
jesty,  a  deference  to  his  authority,  a  dread  of  his 
displeasure,  and  a  continual  regard  to  his  all-seeing 
eye  upon  you.”  (2.)  “  Let  your  practice  be  conso 
nant  to  th:s  principle,  and  serve  him,  both  by  the 
outward  acts  of  religious  worship,  and  every  in¬ 
stance  of  obedience  in  your  whole  conversation,  and 
this,  in  sincerity  and  truth,  with  a  single  eye  and 
an  upright  heart,  and  inward  impressions,  answer- 
able  to  outward  expressions.”  That  is  the  truth  in 
the  inward  part,  which  God  requires,  Ps.  51.  6. 
For  what  good  will  it  do  us  to  dissemble  with  a  God 
that  searches  the  heart?  (3. )  Put  away  the  strange 
gods,  both  Chaldean  and  Egyptian  idols,  for  those 
they  were  most  in  danger  of  revolting  to.  It  should 
seem  by  this  charge,  which  is  repeated,  v.  23.  that 
there  were  some  among  them  that  privately  kept 
in  their  closets  the  images  or  pictures  of  these 
dunghill-deities,  which  came  to  their  hands  from 
their  ancestors,  as  heir-looms  of  their  families, 
though  it  may  be,  they  did  not  worship  them;  these 
Joshua  earnestly  urges  them  to  throw  away.  “De¬ 
face  them,  destroy  them,  lest  you  be  tempted  to 
serve  them.  ”  Jacob  pressed  his  household  to  do 
this,  and  at  this  very  place;  for  when  they  gave  him 
up  the  little  images  they  had,  he  buried  them  wi¬ 
der  the  oak  that  grows  by  Shechem,  Gen.  35.  2,  4. 
Perhaps  the  oak  mentioned  here,  v.  26.  was  the 
same  oak,  or  another  in  the  same  place,  which 
might  be  well  called  the  oak  of  reformation,  as 
there  were  idolatrous  oaks. 

15.  And  if  it  seem  evil  unto  you  to  serve 
I  the  Lord,  choose  you  this  day  whom  you 
!  will  serve  ;  whether  the  gods  which  your 
fathers  served,  that  were  on  the  other  side 
of  the  flood,  or  the  gods  of  the  Amorites,  in 
whose  land  ye  dwell  :  but  as  for  me  and 
my  house,  we  will  serve  the  Lord.  1 6. 
And  the  people  answered  and  said,  God 
forbid  that  we  should  forsake  the  Lord,  to 
j  serve  other  gods;  17.  For  the  Lord  our 
I  God,  he  it  is  that  brought  us  up,  and  our  fa¬ 
thers,  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  from  the 
house  of  bondage,  and  which  did  those 
great  signs  in  our  sight,  and  preserved  us  in 
all  the  way  wherein  we  went,  and  among 
all  the  people  through  whom  we  passed  : 
1 8.  And  the  Lord  drave  out  from  before 
us  all  the  people,  even  the  Amorites  which 
dwelt  in  the  land  :  therefore  will  we  also 
serve  the  Lord;  for  he  is  our  God.  19. 
And  Joshua  said  unto  the  people,  Ye  can¬ 
not  serve  the  Lord:  for  he  is  a  holy  God: 
he  is  a  jealous  God ;  he  will  not  forgive 
your  transgressions  nor  your  sins.  20.  If 
ye  forsake  the  Lord,  and  serve  strange 
gods,  then  he  will  turn  and  do  you  hurt,  and 
consume  you,  after  that  he  hath  done  you 
good.  21.  And  the  people  said  unto  Josh- 


99 


JOSHUA 

ua,  Nay,  but  we  will  serve  the  Lord.  22. 
And  Joshua  said  unto  the  people,  Ye  are 
witnesses  against  yourselves  that  ye  have 
chosen  you  the  Lord,  to  serve  him.  And 
they  said,  We  are  witnesses.  23.  Now 
therelore  put  away,  said  he ,  the  strange 
gods  which  are  among  you,  and  incline  your 
heart  unto  the  Lord  God  of  Israel.  24. 
And  the  people  said  unto  Joshua,  the  Lord 
our  God  will  we  serve,  and  his  voice  will 
we  obey.  25.  So  Joshua  made  a  covenant 
with  the  people  that  day,  and  set  them  a 
statute  and  an  ordinance  in  Shechem.  26. 
And  Joshua  wrote  these  words  in  the  book 
of  the  law  of  God,  and  took  a  great  stone, 
and  set  it  up  there  under  an.  oak,  that  was 
by  the  sanctuary  of  the  Lord.  27.  And 
Joshua  said  unto  all  the  people,  Behold, 
this  stone  shall  be  a  witness  unto  us ;  for 
it  hath  heard  all  the  words  of  the  Lord 
which  he  spake  unto  us :  it  shall  be  there¬ 
fore  a  witness  .unto  you,  lest  ye  deny  your 
God.  28.  So  Joshua  let  the  people  depart, 
every  man  unto  his  inheritance. 

Never  was  any  treaty  carried  on  with  better 
management,  nor  brought  to  a  better  issue,  than 
this  of  Joshua’s  with  the  people,  to  engage  them  to 
serve  God;  the  manner  of  his  dealing  with  them 
shows  him  to  be  in  earnest,  and  that  his  heart  was 
much  upon  it,  to  leave  them  under  all  possible  obli¬ 
gations  to  cleave  to  Him,  particularly  the  obligation 
of  a- choice,  and  of  a  covenant. 

I.  Would  it  be  any  obligation  upon  them,  if  they 
made  the  service  of  God  their  choice — he  here  puts 
them  to  their  choice;  not  as  if  it  were  antecedently 
indifferent  whether  they  served  God  or  no,  or  as  if 
they  were  at  their  liberty  to  refuse  his  service,  but 
because  it  would  have  a  great  influence  upon  their 
perseverance  in  religion,  if  they  embraced  it  with 
the  reason  of  men,  and  with  the  resolution  of  men. 
These  two  things  he  here  brings  them  to. 

1.  He  brings  them  to  embrace  their  religion  ra¬ 
tionally  and  intelligently,  for  it  is  a  re  sonable  ser¬ 
vice.  The  will  of  man  is  apt  to  glory  in  its  native 
liberty,  and,  in  a  jealousy  for  the  honour  of  that, 
adheres  with  most  pleasure  to  that  which  is  its  own 
choice,  and  is  not  imposed  upon  it;  therefore  it  is 
God’s  will  that  this  service  should  be,  not  our 
chance,  or  a  force  upon  us,  but  our  choice.  Accord¬ 
ingly, 

(1.)  Joshua  fairly  puts  the  matter  to  their  choice, 
v.  15.  Where,  [i.]  He  proposes  the  candidates 
that  stand  for  the  election.  The  1  <ord,  Jehovah, 
on  one  side,  and  on  the  other  side,  either  the  gods 
of  their  ancestors,  which  would  pretend  to  recom¬ 
mend  themselves  to  these  that  were  fond  of  antiqui¬ 
ty,  and  that  which  was  received  by  tradition  from 
their  fathers,  or  the  gods  of  their  jieighbours,  the 
Amorites,  in  whose  land  they  dwelt,  which  would 
insinuate  themselves  into  the  affections  of  those  that 
were  complaisant  and  fond  of  good  fellowship.  [2.  ] 
He  supposes  there  were  those  to  whom,  upon  some 
account  or  other,  it  would  seem  evil  to  serve  the 
Lord.  There  are  prejudices  and  objections  which 
some  people  raise  against  religion,  which,  with 
those  that  are  inclined  to  the  world  and  the  flesh, 
have  great  force.  It  seems  evil  to  them,  hard  and 
unreasonable,  to  be  obliged  to  deny  themselves, 
mortify  the  flesh,  take  up  their  cross,  &c.  But  be- 


,  XXIV. 

ing  in  a  state  of  .probation,  it  is  fit  there  should  be 
some  difficulties  in  the  way,  else  there  were  no 
trial.  [3.]  He  refers  it  to  themselves,  “  Choose 
you  whom  ye  will  serve,  choose  this  day,  now  th'.t 
the  matter  is  laid  thus  plainly  before  you,  speedily 
bring  it  to  a  head,  and  do  not  stand  hesitating.” 
Elijah,  long  after  this,  referred  the  decision  cf  the 
controversy  between  Jehovah  and  Baal  to  the  con¬ 
sciences  of  those  with  whom  he  was  treating,  1 
Kings  18.  21.  Joshua’s  putting  off  the  matter  here  to 
this  issue,  plainly  intimates  two  things,  First,  That 
it  is  the  will  of  God  we  should  every  one  of  us  make 
religion  our  serious  and  deliberate  choice.  Let  us 
state  the  matter  impaitially  to  ourselves,  weigh 
things  in  an  even  bal  nee,  and  then  determine  ft  r 
that  which  we  find  to  be  really  true  and  good.  Lot 
us  resolve  on  a  life  of  serious  godliness,  not  merelv 
because  we  know  no  other  way,  but  because  really, 
upon  search,  we  find  no  better.  Secondly,  That 
religion  has  so  much  self-evident  reason  and  right¬ 
eousness  on  its  side,  that  it  may  safely  be  refei  red 
to  every  man  that  allows  himself  a  free  thought, 
either  to  choose  or  refuse  it;  for  the  merits  of  the 
cause  are  so  plain,  that  no  considerate  man  can  do 
otherwise  but  choose  it.  The  case  is  so  clear  that 
it  determines  itself.  Perhaps  Joshua  designed,  bv 
putting  them  to  their  choice,  thus  to  try  if  there 
were  any  among  them,  who,  upon  so  fair  an  occa¬ 
sion  given,  would  show  a  coolness  and  indifference 
toward  the  service  of  God;  whether  they  would  de¬ 
sire  time  to  consider  and  consult  their  friends, 
before  they  gave  in  an  answer;  that  if  any  such 
should  appear,  they  might  set  a  mark  upon  them, 
and  warn  the  rest  to  avoid  them.  [4.]  He  directs 
their  choice  in  this  matter,  by  an  open  declaration 
of  his  own  resolutions.  “  But  as  for  me  and  my 
house,  whatever  you  do,  we  willseri'e  the  Lord,  and 
I  hope  you  will  all  be  cf  the  same  mind.”  Here  he 
resolves,  First,  For  himself;  As  forme,  I  will  serve 
the  Lord.  Note,  The  service  of  God  is  nothing 
below  the  greatest  of  men;  it  is  so  far  from  being  a 
diminution  and  disparagement  to  princes  and  those 
of  the  first  rank  to  be  religious,  that  it  is  their  great¬ 
est  honour,  and  adds  the  brightest  crown  of  glory 
to  them.  Observe  how  positive  he  is,  “I  will  serve 
God.  ”  It  is  no  abridgment  of  our  liberty  to  bind 
ourselves  with  a  bond  to  God.”  Secondly,  For  his 
house,  that  is,  his  family,  his  children,  and  servants, 
such  as  were  immediately  under  his  eye  and  care, 
his  inspection  and  influence.  Joshua  was  a  ruler,  a 
judge  in  Israel,  yet  he  will  not  make  his  necessary 
application  to  public  affairs  an  excuse  for  the  neg¬ 
lect  of  family-religion.  Those  that  have  the  charge 
of  many  families,  as  magistrates  and  ministers,  must 
take  special  care  of  their  own,  1  Tim.  3.  4,  5.  1 

and  my  house  will  serve  God. 

1.  “Not  my  house,  without  me.”  He  would  net 
engage  them  to  that  work,  which  he  would  not  set 
his  own  hand  to.  As  some  who  would  have  their  chil¬ 
dren  and  servants  good,  but  will  not  be  so  them¬ 
selves;  that  is,  they  would  have  them  go  to  heaven, 
but  intend  to  go  to  hell  themselves.  2.  “Not  7, 
without  my  house.”  He  supposes  he  might  be  for¬ 
saken  by  his  people,  but  in  his  house,  where  his 
authority  was  greater,  and  more  immediate,  there 
he  would  overrule.  Note,  When  we  cannot  bring 
as  many  as  we  would  to  the  service  of  God,  we  must 
bring  as  many  as  we  can,  and  extend  our  endea¬ 
vours  to  the  utmost  sphere  of  our  activity;  if  we 
cannot  reform  the  land,  let  us  put  away  iniquity  far 
from  our  own  tabernacle.  3.  “  First,  I,  and  then 
my  house.”  Note,  Those  that  lead  and  rule  in 
other  things,  should  be  first  in  the  service  of  Gcd, 
and  go  before  in  the  best  things.  Lastly,  He  resolves 
to  do  this,  whatever  others  did.  Though  all  the 
families  of  Israel  should  revolt  from  God,  and  serve 
idols,  yet  Joshua  and  his  family  will  steadfastly  ad 


100  JOSHUA 

here  to  the  God  of  Israel.  'Note,  Those  that  resolve 
to  serve  God,  must  not  mind  beifig  singular  in  it, 
nor  be  drawn  by  the  crowd  to  forsake  his  service. 
Those  that  are  bound  for  heaven,  must  be  willing 
to  swim  against  the  stream,  and  must  not  do  as  the 
most  do,  but  as  the  best  do. 

(2. )  The  matter  being  thus  put  to  their  choice, 
they  immediately  determine  it  by  a  free,  ra¬ 
tional,  and  intelligent,  declaration,  for  the  God  of 
Israel,  against  all  competitors  whatsoever,  v.  16*  • 
18.  Here,  [1.]  They  concur  with  Joshua  in  this 
resolution,  being  influenced  by  the  example  of  so  | 
great  a  man,  who  had  been  so  great  a  blessing  to 
them,  v.  18,  We  also  will  serx>e  the  Lord.  See 
how  much  good  great  men  might  do,  if  they  were  but 
zealous  in  religion,  by  their  influence  on  their  infe¬ 
riors.  [2.]  They  startle  at  the  thought  of  aposta¬ 
tising  from  God,  v.  16.  God  forbid l  the  word 
intimates  the  greatest  dread  and  detestation  ima¬ 
ginable;  “  Far  be  it,  far  be  it  from  us,  that  we  or 
our’s  should  ever  forsake  the  Lord  to  seive  other 
gods.  We  must  be  lost  to  all  sense  of  justice,  grati¬ 
tude,  and  honour,  ere  we  can  harbour  the  least 
thought  of  such  a  thing.”  Thus  must  cur  hearts 
rise  against  all  temptations  to  desert  the  service  of 
God:  Get  thee  behind  me,  Satan.  [3.]  They  give 
very  substantial  reasons  for  their  choice,  to  show 
that  they  did  not  make  it  purely  in  compliance  to 
Joshua,  but  from  a  full  conviction  of  the  reasonable¬ 
ness  and  equity  of  it.  They  make  this  choice  for, 
and  in  consideration,  First,  Of  the  many  great  and 
very  kind  things  God  had  done  for  them,  bringing 
them  out  of  Lgyfit  through  the  wilderness  into  Ca¬ 
naan,  v.  17,  18.  Thus  they  repeat  to  themselves 
Joshua’s  sermon,  and  then  express  their  sincere  com¬ 
pliance  with  the  intentions  of  it.  Secondly,  Of  the 
relation  they  stood  in  to  God,  and  his  covenant  with 
them,  “  We  will  serve  the  Lord,  v.  IS,  for  he  is  our 
God,  who  has  graciously  engaged  himself  by  pro¬ 
mise  to  us,  and  to  whom  we  have  by  solemn  vow 
engaged  ourselves.” 

2.  He  brings  them  to  embrace  their  religion  reso¬ 
lutely,  and  to  express  a  full  purpose  of  heart  to 
cleave  to  the  Lord.  Now  that  he  has  them  in  a 
good  mind,  he  follows  his  blow,  and  drives  the  nail 
to  the  head,  that  it  might,  if  possible,  be  a  nail  in  a 
sure  place.  Fast  bind,  fast  find. 

(1. )  In  order  to  this  he  sets  before  them  the  diffi¬ 
culties  of  religion,  and  that  in  it,  which  might  be 
thought  discouraging,  v.  19,  20.  Ye  cannot  serve  \ 
the  Lord,  for  he  is  a  holy  God,  or  as  it  is  in  the  He¬ 
brew,  he  is  the  holy  Gods,  intimating  the  mystery  j 
of  the  Trinity,  three  in  one;  holy,  holy,  holy,  holy  ; 
Father,  holy  Son,  holy  Spirit.  He  will  not  forgive. 
And  if  ye  forsake  him,  he  will  do  you  hurt.  Cer¬ 
tainly  Joshua  does  not  intend  hereby  to  deter  them 
from  the  service  of  God  as  impracticable  and  dan¬ 
gerous.  But,  [1.]  He  perhaps  intends  to  represent 
here  the  suggestions  of  seducers,  who  tempted  | 
Israel  from  their  God,  and  from  the  serv  ice  of  him,  | 
with  such  insinuations  as  these;  that  he  was  a  hard 
master,  his  work  impossible  to  be  done,  and  he 
not  to  be  pleased,  and  if  displeased,  implacable 
and  revengeful;  that  he  would  confine  their  respects  : 
to  himself  only,  and  would  not  suffer  them  to  show 
the  least  kindness  for  any  other,  and  that  herein  he 
was  very  unlike  the  gods  of  the  nations,  which 
were  easy,  and  neither  holy  nor  jealous.  It  is  pro¬ 
bable  that  this  was  then  commonly  objected  against  j 
the  Jewish  religion,  as  it  has  all  along  been  the  arti¬ 
fice  of  Satan  ever  since  he  tempted  our  first  parents, 
thus  to  misrepresent  God  and  his  laws,  as  harsh 
and  severe;  and  Joshua  by  his  tone  and  manner  of 
speaking  might  make  them  perceive  he  intended  it 
as  an  objection,  and  would  put  it  to  them  how  they 
would  keep  their  ground  against  the  force  of  it.  Or, 
[2.]  He  thus  expresses  his  godly  jealousy  over 


,  XXIV. 

them,  and  his  fear  concerning  them,  that,  notwith¬ 
standing  the  professions  they  now  made  of  zeal  for 
God  and  his  service,  they  would  afterward  draw 
back,  and  if  they  did,  they  would  find  him  just  and 
jealous  to  avenge  it.  Or,  [3.]  He  resolves  to  let 
them  know  the  worst  of  it,  and  what  strict  terms 
they  must  expect  to  stand  upon  with  God,  that 
they  might  sit  down  and  count  the  cost.-  “  1  e  can¬ 
not  serve  the  Lord,  except  you  put  away  all  other 
gods,  for  he  is  holy  and  jealous,  and  will  by  no  means 
admit  a  rival,  and  therefore  you  must  be  very 
watchful  and  careful,  for  it  is  at  your  peril,  if  you 
desire  hjs  service;  better  you  had  never  known  it.” 
Thus  though  our  Master  has  assured  us  that  his 
yoke  is  easy,  yet  lest,  upon  the  presumption  of  that, 
we  should  grow  remiss  and  careless,  he  has  also  t  Id 
us  that  the  gate  is  straight,  and  the  way  narrow, 
that  leads  to  life,  that  we  may  therefore  strive  to 
enter,  and  not  seek  only.  “  You  cannot  serve  God 
and  mammon ;  therefore  if  you  resOlv  e  to  serve  G<  d, 
you  must  renounce  all  competitois  with  him.  You 
cannot  serve  God  in  your  own  strength,  nor  will  he 
forgive  your  transgressions  for  any  righteousness  of 
your  own;  but  all  the  seed  of  Israel  must  be  jits  /fed 
and  must  glory  in  the  Lord  alone,  as  their  righte¬ 
ousness  and  strength,  Isa.  45.  24,  25.  They  must 
therefore  come  off  from  all  confidence  in  their  own 
sufficiency,  else  their  purposes  woidd  be  to  no  pur¬ 
pose.  Or,  [4.]  Joshua  thus  urges  on  them  the 
seeming  discouragements  which  lay  in  their  way, 
that  he  might  sharpen  their  resolutions,  and  draw 
from  them  a  promise  yet  more  expiessand  solemn, 
that  they  would  continue  faithful  to  God  and  their 
religion.  He  draws  it  from  them  that  they  might 
catch  at  it  the  more  earnestly,  and  hold  it  the 
faster. 

(2.)  Notwithstanding  this  statement  of  the  diffi¬ 
culties  of  religion,  they  declared  a  firm  and  fixed 
resolution  to  continue  and  persevere  therein,  v.  21. 
“Nay,  but  we  will  serve  the  Lord,  we  will  think 
never  the  worse  of  him  for  his  being  a  holy  and 
jealous  God,  nor  for  his  confining  his  servants  to 
worship  himself  only.  Justly  will  he  consume  them 
that  forsake  him,  but  we  never  will  forsake  h;m; 
not  only  we  have  a  good  mind  to  serve  him,  and  we 
hope  we  shall,  but  we  are  at  a  point,  we  cannot 
bear  to  hear  any  entreaties  to  leave  him,  or  to  turn 
from  following  after  him,  Ruth  1.  16.  in  the 
strength  of  divine  grace  we  are  resolved  that  we 
will  serve  the  Lord.  ”  This  resolution  they  repeat 
with  an  explication,  v.  24.  “  The  Lord  our  God 
will  we  serve,  not  only  be  called  his  servants,  and 
wear  his  livery,  but  our  religion  shall  rule  us  in 
everything,  and  his  voice  will  we  obey.”  And  in 
vain  do  we  call  him  Master  and  Lord,  if  we  do  not 
the  things  which  he  saith,  Luke  6.  46.  This  last 
promise  they  make,  in  answer  to  the  charge  Joshua 
gave  them,  v.  23.  that,  in  order  to  their  perseve¬ 
rance,  they  should,  [1.]  Put  away  the  images  and 
relics  of  the  strange  gods,  and  not  keep  any  of  the 
tokens  of  those  other  lov  ers  in  their  custody,  if  they 
resolv  ed  their  Maker  should  he  their  Husband ;  they 
promise  in  this  to  obey  his  voice.  [2.]  That  they 
should  incline  their  hearts  to  the  Goa  of  Israel,  use 
their  authority  over  their  own  hearts  to  engage 
them  for  God,  not  only  to  set  their  affections  upon 
him,  but  to  settle  them  so.  These  terms  they 
agreed  to,  and  thus,  as  Joshua  explains  the 
bargain,  they  strike  it,  The  Lord  our  God  will  we 
serve. 

II.  The  service  of  God  being  thus  made  their  de¬ 
liberate  choice,  Joshua  binds  them  to  it  by  a  solemn 
covenant,  v.  25.  Moses  had  twice  publicly  ratified  % 
this  covenant  between  God  and  Israel,  at  mount 
Sinai,  Exod.  24.  and  in  the  plains  of  Moab,  Dent. 
29.  1.  Joshua  had  likewise  done  it  once,  ch.  8.  31, 

8c c.  and  now  the  second  time.  It  is  here  called  a 


JOSHUA 

statute  and  an  ordinance,  because  of  the  strength 
and  perpetuity  of  its  obligation;  and  because  even 
this  covenant  bound  them  to  no  more  than  what 
they  were  antecedently  bound  to  by  the  divine  com¬ 
mand. 

Now,  to  give  it  the  formalities  of  a  covenant,  1. 
He  calls  witnesses,  no  other  than  themselves,  v.  22, 
Ye  are  witnesses  that  ye  have  chosen  the  Lord;  he 
promises  himself  that  they  would  never  forget  the 
solemnities  of  this  day,  but  if  hereafter  they  should 
break  this  covenant,  he  assures  them  that  the  pro¬ 
fessions  and  promises  they  had  now  made,  would 
certainly  rise  up  in  judgment  against  them,  and 
condemn  them;  and  they  agreed  to  it,  “  We  are 
witnesses ;  let  us  be  judged  out  of  our  own  mouths, 
if  ever  we  be  false  to  our  God.”  2.  He  put  it  in 
writing,  and  inserted  it,  as  we  find  it  here,  in  the 
sacred  canon;  he  wrote  it  in  the  book  of  the  law,  v. 
26.  in  that  original  which  was  laid  up  in  the  side  of 
the  ark,  and  from  thence,  probably,  it  was  trans¬ 
cribed  into  the  several  copies  which  the  princes  had 
for  the  use  of  each  tribe.  There  it  was  written, 
that  their  obligation  to  religion  by  the  divine  pre¬ 
cept,  and  that  by  their  own  promise,  might  remain 
on  record  together.  3.  He  erected  a  memorandum 
of  it,  for  the  benefit  of  those  who  perhaps  were  not 
conversant  with  writing,  v.  26,  27.  He  set  up  a 
great  stone  wider  an  oak,  as  a  monument  of  this  co¬ 
venant,  and  perhaps  wrote  an  inscription  upon  it, 
(by  which  stones  are  made  to  speak,)  signifying  the 
intention  of  it.  When  he  says,  It  had  heard  what 
was  past,  he  tacitly  upbraids  the  people  with  the 
hardness  of  their  hearts,  as  if  this  stone  had  heard 
to  as  good  purpose  as  some  of  them;  and  if  they 
should  forget  what  was  now  done,  this  stone  would 
so  far  preserve  the  remembrance  of  it,  as  to  re¬ 
proach  them  for  their  stupidity  and  carelessness, 
and  be  a  witness  against  them. 

The  matter  being  thus  settled,  Joshua  dismissed 
this  assembly  of  the  grandees  of  Israel',  v.  28.  and 
took  his  last  leave  of  them,  well  satisfied  in  having 
done  his  part,  by  which  he  had  delivered  his  soul; 
if  they  perished,  their  blood  would  be  upon  their 
own  heads. 

29.  And  it  came  to  pass  after  these  things, 
that  Joshua  the  son  of  Nun,  the  servant  of 
the  Lord,  died,  being  a  hundred  and  ten 
years  old.  30.  And  they  buried  him  in  the 
border  of  his  inheritance  in  Timnath-serah, 
which  is  in  mount  Ephraim,  on  the  north 
side  of  the  hill  of  Gaash.  31.  And  Israel 
served  the  Lord  all  the  days  of  Joshua,  and 
all  the  days  of  the  elders  that  overlived 
Joshua,  and  which  had  known  all  the 
works  of  the  Lord,  that  he  had  done  for 
Israel.  32.  And  the  bones  of  Joseph,  which 
t  lie  children  of  Israel  brought  up  out  of  Egypt, 
buried  they  in  Shechem,  in  a  parcel  of 
ground  which  Jacob  bought  of  the  sons  of 
ITamor,  the  father  of  Shechem,  for  a  hun¬ 
dred  pieces  of  silver:  and  it  became  the 
inheritance  of  the  children  of  Joseph.  33. 
And  Eleazar, .the  son  of  Aaron,  died;  and 
they  buried  him  in  a  hill  that  pertained  to 
Phinehas  his  son,  which  was  given  him  in 
mount  Ephraim. 

This  book,  which  began  with  triumphs,  here  ends 
with  funerals,  by  which  all  the  glory  of  man  is 
stained. 


,  XXIV.  *  101 

1.  Here  is  Joseph  buried,  v.  32.  He  died  about 
two  hundred  years  before  in  Egypt,  but  gave  com¬ 
mandment  concerning  his  bones,  that  they  should 
not  rest  in  their  grave  until  Israel  had  rest  in  the  land 
of  promise;  now  therefore,  the  children  of  Israel, 
who  had  brought  this  coffin  full  of  bones  with  them 
out  of  Egypt,  carried  it  along  with  them  in  all  then- 
marches  through  the  wilderness,  (the  two  tribes  of 
Ephraim  and  Manasseh,  it  is  probable,  taking  par¬ 
ticular  care  of  it,)  and  kept  it  in  their  camp  till 
Canaan  was  perfectly  reduced,  now  at  last  they  de¬ 
posited  it  in  that  piece  of  ground  which  his  father 
gave  him  near  Shechem,  Gen.  48.  22.  Probably 
it  was  upon  this  occasion  that  Joshua  called  cut  fi  r 
all  Israel  to  meet  him  at  Shechem,  (x>.  1.)  to  attend 
Joseph’s  coffin  to  the  grave  there;  so  that  the  ser-  • 
mon  in  this  chapter  served  both  for  Joseph’s  fune¬ 
ral  sermon,  and  his  own  farewell  sermon;  and  if  it 
was,  as  is  supposed,  in  the  last  year  of  his  life,  the 
occasion  might  very  well  remind  him  of  his  own 
death  being  at  hand,  for  he  was  now  just  at  the 
same  age  that  his  illustrious  ancestor  Joseph  was  ar¬ 
rived  at  when  he  died,  one  hundred  and  ten  years 
old;  compare  v.  29.  with  Gen.  50.  26. 

Here  is  the  death  and  burial  of  Joshua,  v.  29.  30. 
We  are  not  told  how  long  he  lived  after  the  com¬ 
ing  of  Israel  into  Canaan.  Dr.  Lightfoot  thinks  it 
was  about  seventeen  years;  but  the  Jewish  chro- 
nologers  generally  say  it  was  about  twenty-seven  or 
twenty-eight  years.  He  is  here  called  tbe  servant 
of  the  Lord,  the  same  title  that  wras  given  to  Mo¬ 
ses,  ( ch .  1.  1.)  when  mention  was  made  cf  his 
death;  for  though  Joshua  was  in  many  respects  in¬ 
ferior  to  Moses,  yet  in  this  he  was  equal  to  him, 
that,  according  as  his  work  was,  he  approved  him¬ 
self  a  diligent  and  faithful  servant  of  God.  And  he 
he  that  traded  with  his  two  talents,  had  the  same 
approbation  that  he  had  who  traded  with  five; 
Well  done,  good  and  faithful  sen’ant.  Joshua’s 
burying  place  is  here  said  to  be  on  the  north*  side 
of  the  hill  of  Gaash,  or  the  quaking  hill;  the  Jews 
say  it  was  so  called,  because  it  trembled  at  the 
burial  of  Joshua,  to  upbraid  the  people  of  Israel 
with  their  stupidity,  in  that  they  did  not  lament  the 
death  of  that  great  and  good  man  so  as  they  ought 
to  have  done.  Thus,  at  the  death  of  Christ,  our 
Joshua,  the  earth  quaked.  The  learned  Bishop 
Patrick  observes,  that  there  is  no  mention  of  any 
days  of  mourning  for  Joshua,  as  there  were  for  Mo¬ 
ses  and  Aaron,  in  which,  he  says,  St.  Hierom  and 
other  of  the  fathers  think  there  is  a  mystery, 
namely,  that  under  the  law,  when  life  and  immor¬ 
tality  were  not  brought  to  so  clear  alight  as  they  are 
now,  they  had  reason  to  mourn  and  weep  for  the 
death  of  their  friends;  but  now  that  Jesus,  our  Josh¬ 
ua,  has  opened  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  we  mav 
rather  rejoice. 

3.  Here  is  the  death  and  burial  of  Eleazar  the 
cnief  priest,  who,  it  is  probable,  died  about  the  same 
time  that  Joshua  did,  as  Aaron  in  the  same  year 
with  Moses,  v.  33.  The  Jews  sav  that  Eleazar,  a 
little  before  he  died,  called  the  elders  together,  and 
gave  them  a  charge  as  Joshua  had  done.  He  was 
buried  in  a  hill  that  pertained  to  Phinehas  his  son, 
which  came  to  him,  not  by  descent,  for  then  it 
would  have  pertained  to  his  father  first,  nor  had 
the  priests  any  cities  in  mount  Ephraim;  but  either 
it  fell  to  him  by  marriage,  as  the  Jews  conjecture, 
or  it  was  freely  bestowed  upon  him,  to  build  a 
countrv-seat  on,  by  some  pious  Israelite,  that  was 
well-affected  to  the  priesthood,  for  it  is  here  said 
to  be  given  him;  and  there  he  buried  his  dear  fa¬ 
ther. 

Last  lit.  We  have  a  general  idea  given  us  of  the 
state  of  Israel  at  this  time,  v.  31.  While  Joshua 
lived,  religion  was  kept  up  among  them  under  his 
care  and  influence;  but  soon  after  he  and  his  con- 


JUDGES,  1. 


temporaries  died,  it  went  to  decay,  so  much  often¬ 
times  does  one  head  hold  up:  how  well  is  it  for  the 
gospel  church,  that  Christ,  our  Joshua,  is  still  with 


it,  by  his  Spirit,  and  will  be  always,  even  unto  the 
end  of  the  world! 


AN 

EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 

UPON  THE  BOOK  OF 

JUDGES. 


This  is  called  in  the  Hebrew  Shcfiher  Shophtim,  the  Book  of  Judges,  which  the  Syriac  and  Arabic  ver¬ 
sions  enlarge  upon,  and  call  it,  The  Book  of  the  Judges  of  the  children  of  Israel;  the  judgments  of  that 
nation  being  peculiar,  so  were  their  judges,  whose  office  differed  vastly  from  that  of  the  Judges  of  our 
nations.  The  LXX  entitle  it  only  KfiT*i,  Judges.  It  is  the  history  of  the  commonwealth  of  Israel, 
during  the  government  of  the  Judges  from  Othniel  to  Eli;  so  much  of  it  as  God  saw  fit  to  transmit  to 
us.  It  contains  the  history  (according  to  Dr.  Lightfoot’s  computation)  of  two  hundred  and  ninety-nine 
years;  reckoning  to  Othniel  of  Judah,  forty  years;  to  Ehud  of  Benjamin,  eighty  years;  to  Barak  of 
Naphtali,  forty  years;  to  Gideon  of  Manasseh,  forty  years;  to  Abimelech  his  son,  three  years;  to  Tola 
of  Issachar,  twenty-three;  to  Jair  of  Manasseh,  twenty-two;  to  Jephthah  of  Manasseh,  six;  to  Ibzan  of 
Judah,  seven;  toElon  of  Zebulon,  ten;  to  Abdon  of  Ephraim,  eight;  to  Samson  of  Dan,  twenty;  in  all 
two  hundred  and  ninety-nine.  As  for  the  years  of  their  servitude,  as  where  Eglon  is  said  to  oppress 
them  eighteen  years,  and  Jabin  twenty  years,  and  so  some  others,  those  must  be  reckoned  to  fall  in 
with  some  or  other  of  the  years  of  the  Judges.  The  judges  here  appear  to  have  been  of  eight  several 
tribes;  that  honour  was  thus  diffused,  until  at  last  it  centered  in  Judah.  Eli  and  Samuel,  the  two  Judges 
that  fell  not  within  this  book,  were  of  Levi.  It  seems,  there  was  no  Judge  of  Reuben  or  Simeon,  Gad  or 
Asher.  The  history  of  these  Judges  in  their  order  we  have  in  this  book,  to  the  end  of  ch.  16.  And  then 
in  the  five  last  chapters  we  have  an  account  of  some  particular  memorable  events  which  happened,  as 
the  story  of  Ruth  did,  (Ruth  1.  1.)  in  the  days  when  the  Judges  ruled,  but  it  is  not  certain  in  which 
Judge’s  days;  but  they  are  put  together  at  the  end  of  the  book,  that  the  thread  of  the  general  history 
might  not  be  interrupted.  Now  as  to  the  state  of  the  commonwealth  of  Israel  during  this  period. 

I.  They  do  not  appear  here  either  so  great  or  so  good  as  one  might  have  expected  the  character  of  such 
a  peculiar  people  should  have  been;  that  were  governed  by  such  laws,  and  enriched  by  such  promises. 
We  find  them  wretchedly  corrupted  and  wretchedly  oppressed,  by  their  neighbours  about  them,  and 
no  where  in  all  the  book,  either  in  war  or  council,  do  they  make  any  figure  proportionable  to  theii 
glorious  entry  into  Canaan.  What  shall  we  say  to  it?  God  would  hereby  show  us  the  lamentable  im¬ 
perfection  of  all  persons  and  things  under  the  sun,  that  we  may  look  for  complete  holiness  and  happi¬ 
ness  in  the  other  world,  and  not  in  this.  Yet, 

II.  We  may  hope  that  though  the  historian  in  this  book  enlarges  most  upon  their  provocations  and  griev¬ 
ances,  yet  there  was  a  face  of  religion  upon  the  land;  and  however  there  were  those  among  them,  that 
were  drawn  aside  to  idolatry,  yet  the  tabernacle-service,  according  to  the  law  of  Moses,  was  kept  up, 
and  there  were  many  that  attended  it.  Historians  record  not  the  common  course  of  justice  and  com¬ 
merce  in  a  nation,  taking  that  for  granted,  but  only  the  wars  and  disturbances  that  happen;  but  the 
reader  must  consider  the  other,  to  balance  the  blackness  of  them. 

III.  It  should  seem  that  in  these  times  each  tribe  had  very  much  its  government  in  ordinary  within  it¬ 
self,  and  acted  separately,  without  one  common  head,  or  council,  which  occasioned  many  differences 
among  themselves,  and  kept,  them  from  being  or  doing  any  thing  considerable. 

IV.  The  government  of  the  Judges  was  not  constant,  but  occasional,  when  it  is  said  that  after  Fluid's 
victory  the  land  rested  eighty  years,  and  after  Barak’s  forty,  it  is  not  certain  that  thev  lived,  much  less 
that  they  governed,  so  long;  but  they  and  the  rest  were  raised  up  and  animated  by  the  spirit  of  God  to 
do  particular  service  to  the  public  when  there  was  occasion,  to  avenge  Israel  of  their  enemies,  and  t  ■ 
purge  Israel  of  their  idolatries,  which  are  the  two  things  principally  meant  by  their  judging  Israel.  Ye 
Deborah,  as  a  prophetess,  was  attended  for  judgment  by  all  Israel,  before  there  was  occasion  for  her 
agency  in  war,  ch.  4.  4. 


JUDGES,  J.  103 

V.  During  the  go\  eminent  of  the  Judges,  God  was  in  a  more  especial  manner  Israel’s  king,  so  Samuel 
tells  them  when  they  were  resolved  to  throw  eft' this  form  cf  government,  1  Sam.  12.  12.  Gcd  would 
try  what  his  own  law  and  the  constitutions  of  that  would  do  to  ki  ep  them  in  order,  and  it  proved  that 
when  there  was  no  king  in  Israel,  every  man  did  that  which  was  right  in  his  oun  eyes;  lie  therefore, 
toward  the  latter  end  of  this  time,  made  the  government  of  the  judges  more  constant  and  universal 
than  it  was  at  first,  and  at  length  gave  them  David,  a  king  after  his  own  heart;  then,  and  not  till  then, 
Israel  began  to  flourish;  which  should  make  us  very  thankful  for  magistrates  both  supreme  and  subor¬ 
dinate,  for  they  are  ministers  of  God  unto  us  for  good.  Four  of  the  Judges  of  Israel  are  here  canon¬ 
ized,  Heb.  11.  32.  Gideon,  Barak,  Samson,  and  Jephthah.  The  learned  Bishop  Patrick  thinks  the 
prophet  Samuel  was  the  penman  of  this  Book. 


JUDGES,  I. 


CHAP.  1. 

This  chapter  gives  us  a  particular  account  of  what  sort  of 
progress  the  several  tribes  of  Israel  made  in  the  reducing 
of  Canaan  after  the  death  of  Joshua.  He  did  (as  we  say ) 
break  the  neck  of  that  great  work,  and  put  it  into  such  a 
posture,  that  they  might  easily  have  perfected  it  in  due 
time,  if  they  had  not  been  wanting  to  themselves;  what 
they  did  in  order  hereunto,  and  wherein  they  come  short, 
we  are  here  told.  I.  The  united  tribes  of  Judah  and 
Simeon  did  bravely.  1.  God  appointed  Judah  to  begin, 
v.  1,  2.  2.  Judah  took  Simeon  to  act  in  conjunction 

with  him,  v.  3.  3.  They  succeeded  in  their  enterprises 
against  Bezek,  (v.  4.  7.)  Jerusalem,  (v.  8.)  Hebron  and 
Debir,  (v.  9. .  15.)  Hormah,  Gaza,  and  other  places,  v. 
17,  19.  4.  Yet  where  there  were  chariots  of  iron,  their 

hearts  failed  them,  v.  19. ,  Mention  is  made  of  the  ICen- 
ites  settling  among  them,  v.  16.  II.  The  other  tribes, 
in  comparison  with  these,  acted  a  cowardly  part.  1.  Ben¬ 
jamin  failed,  v.  21.  2.  The  house  of  Joseph  did  well 

against  Beth-el,  (v.  22.  26.)  but  in  other  places  did  not 
improve  their  advantages,  nor  Manasseh,  (v.  27.  28. )  nor 
Ephraim,  v.  29.  3.  Zehulun  spared  the  Canaanites,  v.  30. 
4.  Ashur  truckled  worse  than  any  of  them  to  the  Canaan¬ 
ites,  v.  31,  32.  5.  Naphtali  was  kept  out  of  the  full  pos¬ 

session  of  several  of  his  cities,  v.  33.  6.  Dan  was  straitened 
by  the  Amorites,  v.  34.  No  account  is  given  of  lssachar, 
nor  of  the  two  tribes  and  a  half  on  the  other  side  Jordan. 

1.  VTOW,  after  the  death  of  Joshua,  it 
X  nI  came  to  pass,  that  the  children  of 
Israel  asked  the  Lord,  saying,  Who  shall 
go  up  for  us  against  the  Canaanites  first,  to 
tight  against  them  ?  2.  And  the  Lord  said, 
Judah  shall  go  up  :  behold,  1  have  delivered 
the  land  into  his  hand.  3.  And  Judah  said 
unto  Simeon  his  brother,  Come  up  with  me 
into  my  lot,  that  we  may  fight  against  the 
Canaanites ;  and  I  likewise  will  go  up  with 
thee  into  thy  lot.  So  Simeon  went  with 
him.  4.  And  Judah  went  up ;  and  the 
Lord  delivered  the  Canaanites  and  the 
Perizzites  into  their  hand:  and  they  slew  of 
them  in  Bezek  ten  thousand  men.  5.  And 
they  found  Adoni-bezek  in  Bezek  ;  and  they 
fought  against  him,  and  they  slew  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  and  the  Perizzites.  G.  But  Adoni- 
bezek  fled:  and  they  pursued  after  him, and 
caught  him,  and  cut  off  his  thumbs  and  his 
great  toes.  7.  And  Adoni-bezek  said,  three¬ 
score  and  ten  kings,  having  their  thumbs  and 
their  great  toes  cut  off,  gathered  their  meat, 
under  my  table :  as  1  have  done,  so  God 
hath  requited  me.  And  they  brought  him  to 
Jerusalem,  and  there  he  died.  8.  Now  the 
children  of  Judah  had  fought  against  Jeru- 1 
salem,  and  had  taken  it, 'and  smitten  it  with  j 


the  edge  of  the  sword,  and  set  the  city 
on  fire. 

Here, 

I.  The  children  of  Israel  consult  the  oracle  of 
God  for  direction,  which  of  all  the  tribes  should 
first  attempt  to  clear  their  country  of  the  Canaan¬ 
ites,  and  to  animate  and  encourage  the  rest.  It  was 
after  the  death  of  Joshua:  while  he  lived,  he  direct¬ 
ed  them,  and  all  the  tribes  were  obedient  to  him; 
but  when  he  died,  he  left  no  successor  in  the  same 
authority  that  he  had  had:  but  the  people  must  con¬ 
sult  the  breast-plate  of  judgment,  and  thence  re¬ 
ceive  the  word  of  command;  for  God  himself,  as  he 
was  their  King,  so  he  was  the  Lord  of  their  h<  sis. 
The  question  they  ask  is,  Who  shall  go  up  first ?  v. 
1.  By  this  time,  we  may  suppose,  they  were  so 
multiplied,  that  the  places  they  were  in  possession 
of,  began  to  be  too  strait  for  them,  and  they  must 
thrust  out  the  enemy  to  make  room:  now  they  in¬ 
quire,  who  should  first  take  up  arms.  Whether 
each  tribe  wds  ambitious  cf  being  first,  and  so  strove 
for  the  honour  cf  ;t,  or  whether  each -was  afraid  of 
being  first,  and  so  strove  to  decline  it,  does  not  ap¬ 
pear;  but  by  common  consent  the  matter  was  refer¬ 
red  to  God  himself,  who  is  the  fittest  both  tc 
dispose  of  honours,  and  to  cut  out  work. 

II.  God  appointed  that  Judah  should  go  up  first, 
and  promised  him  success;  (v.  2.)  “  I  have  deliver¬ 
ed  the  land  into  his  hand  to  be  possessed,  and  there¬ 
fore  will  deliver  the  enemy  into  his  hand,  that 
keeps  him  out  of  possession,  to  be  destroyed.  ”  And 
why  must  Judah  be  first  in  this  undertaking?  1. 
Judah  was  the  most  numerous  and  powerful  tribe, 
and  therefore  let  Judah  venture  first.  Note,  God 
appoints  service  according  to  the  strength  he  has 
given.  Those  that  are  most  able,  from  them  most 
work  is  expected.  2.  Judah  was  first  in  dignity, 
and  therefore  must  be  first  in  duty.  He  it  is,  whom 
his  brethren  must  praise,  and  therefore  he  it  is,  who 
must  lead  in  perilous  services.  Let  the  burthen  of 
honour  and  the  burthen  of  work  go  together.  3. 
Judah  was  first  served;  the  lot  came  up  for  Judah 
first,  and  therefore  Judah  must  first  fight.  4.  Judah 
was  the  tribe  out  of  which  our  Lord  was  to  spring: 
so  that  in  Judah,  Christ,  the  Lion  of  the  tribe  of 
Judah,  went  before  them.  Christ  engaged  the 
powers  of  darkness  first,  and  foiled  thfem,  which 
animates  us  for  our  conflicts;  and  it  is  in  him  that 
we  are  more  than  conquerors.  Observe,  The  service 
and  the  success  are  put  together:  “Judah  shall  go 
up,  let  him  do  his  part,  and  then  he  shall  find,  1 
have  delivered  the  land  into  his  hand.'”  His  serv  ice 
will  not  avail  unless  God  give  the  success:  but  Gcd 
will  not  give  the  success,  unless  he  \  igorously  ap 
ply  himself  to  the  service. 

III.  Judah  hereupon  prepares  to  go  up,  but  courts 
his  brother  and  neighbour  the  tribe  of  Simeon  (the 
lot  of  which  tribe  fell  within  that  of  Judah,  and  was 
assigned  out  of  it)  to  join  forces  with  him,  v.  3.  Ob 


104 


JUDGES,  1. 


serve  here,  1.  That  the  str1  ngest  should  not  de¬ 
spise,  but  desire  the  assistance  even  of  those  that 
■ire  weaker.  Judas  was  the  most  considerable  of  all 
the  tribes,  and  Simeon  the  least  considerable,  and 
yet  Judah  begs  Simeon’s'  friendship,  and  prays  an 
aid  from  him;  the  head  cannot  say  to  the  foot,  I 
have  no  need  of  thee,  for  we  are  members  one  of  an¬ 
other.  2.  Those  that  crave  assistance,  must  be 
ready  to  give  assistance;  Come  with  me  into  my  lot, 
and  then  I  will  go  with  thee  into  thine .  It  becomes 
Israelites  to  help  one  another  against  Canaanites; 
and  all  Christians,  even  those  of  different  tribes,  to 
strengthen  one  another’s  hands  against  the  common 
interests  of  Satan’s  kingdom.  Those  who  thus  help 
une  another  in  love,  have  reason  to  hope  that  God 
will  graciously  help  them  both. 

IV.  The  confederate  forces  of  Judah  and  Simeon 
take  the  field.  Judah  went  up,  (x».  4.)  and  Simeon 
with  him,  v.  3.  Caleb,  it  is  probable,  was  com¬ 
mander  in  chief  of  this  expedition;  for  who  so  fit  as 
he  who  had  both  an  old  man’s  head  and  a  young 
man’s  hand;  the  experience  of  age  and  the  vigour 
oi  youth!  Josh.  14.  10,  11.  It  should  seem  too,  by 
what  follows,  that  he  (x\  10,  11.)  was  not  yet  in 
possession  of  his  own  allotment.  It  was  happy  for 
them  that  they  had  such  a  general,  as,  according  to 
nis  name,  was  all  heart.  Some  think  that  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  were  got  together  into  a  body,  a  formidable 
body,  when  Israel  consulted  who  should  go  fight 
against  them;  and  that  they  then  began  to  stir  when 
they  heard  of  the  death  of  Joshua,  whose  name  had 
been  so  dreadful  to  them ;  but,  if  so,  it  proved  they 
did  but  meddle  to  their  own  hurt. 

V.  God  gave  them  great  success.  Whether  they 
invaded  the  enemy,  or  the  enemy  first  gave  them 
the  alarm,  The  Lord  delivered  them  into  their  hand, 

.  4.  Though  the  army  of  Judah  was  strong  and 
bo’d,  yet  the  victory  is  attributed  to  God!  he  deli¬ 
vered  the  Canaanites  into  their  hand;  having  given 
them  authority,  he  here  gives  them  ability  to  de¬ 
stroy  them — put  it  in  their  power,  and  so  tried  their 
obedience  to  his  command,  which  was  utterly  to  cut 
them  off.  Bishop  Patrick  observes  upon  this,  that 
we  meet  not  with  such  religious  expressions  in  the 
he  then  writers,  concerning  the  success  of  their 
arms,  as  we  have  here  and  elsewhere  in  this  sacred 
history.  I  wish  such  pious  acknowledgments  of  the 
Divine  Providence  were  not  grown  into  disuse  at 
this  time,  with  many  that  are  called  Christians. 
Now,  1.  We  are  told  how  the  army  of  the  Canaan¬ 
ites  was  routed  in  the  field,  in  or  near  Bezek,  the 
place  where  they  drew  up,  which  afterward  Saul 
made  the  place  of  a  general  rendezvous;  (1  Sam. 
11.  8.)  they  slew  ten  thousand  men,  which  blow,  if 
followed,  could  not  but  be  a  very  great  weakening  to 
those  that  were  brought  already  so  very  low.  2. 
How  their  king  was  taken  and  mortified  His  name 
was  Adoni-bezek,  which  signifies,  lord  of  Bezek. 
There  have  been  those  that  called  their  lands  by 
their  own  names,  (Ps.  49.  11.)  but  here  was  one 
(and  there  has  been  many  another)  that  called  him¬ 
self  by  his  land’s  name.  He  was  taken  prisoner 
after  the  battle,  and  we  are  here  told  how  they 
used  him :  they  cut  off  his  thumbs,  to  disfit  him  for 
fighting,  and  his  great  toes,  that  he  might  not  be  able 
to  run  away,  v.  6.  It  had  been  barbarous  thus  to 
triumph  over  a  man  in  misery,  and  that  lay  at  their 
merov,  but  that  he  was  a  devoted  Canaanite,  and 
one  that  had  in  like  manner  abused  others,  which, 
probably,  they  had  heard  of.  Josephus  says,  “They 
cut  off  his  hands  and  his  feet,”  probably  supposing 
those  more  likely  to  be  mortal  wounds,  than  only 
the  cutting  off  his  thumbs  and  his  great  toes.  But 
this  indignity  which  they  did  him,  extorted  from 
him  an  acknowledgment  of  the  righteousness  of 
find,  v.  7.  Where  observe,  (1.)  What  a  great 
man  this  Adoni-bezek  had  been,  how  great  in  the 


field,  where  armies  fled  before  him,  how  great  at 
i  home,  where  kings  were  set  with  the  dogs  of  his 
j  flock;  and  yet  now  himself  a  prisoner,  and  reduced 
i  to  the  extremity  of  meanness  and  disgrace.  See 
how  changeable  this  world  is,  and  how  slippery  its 
j  high  places  are.  Let  not  the  highest  be  proud,  nor 
the  strongest  secure,  for  they  know  not  how  low 
|  they  may  be  brought  before  they  die.  (2.)  What 
|  desolation  he  had  made  among  liis  neighbours,  he 
had  wholly  subdued  seventy  kings,  to  that  degree 
I  as  to  have  them  his  prisoners;  he  that  was  the  chief 
person  in  a  city,  was  then  called  a  king,  and  the 
greatness  of  their  title  did  but  aggravate  their  dis¬ 
grace,  and  fired  the  pride  of  him  that  insulted  over 
them.  We  cannot  suppose  that  Adoni-bezek  had 
seventy  of  these  petty  princes  at  once  his  slaves, 
but  first  and  last,  in  the  course  of  his  reign,  he  had 
thus  deposed  and  abused  so  many,  who  perhaps 
were  many  of  them  kings  of  the  same  cities  that 
successively  opposed  him,  and  whom  he  thus  treat¬ 
ed  to  please  his  own  imperious  barbarous  fancy,  and 
for  a  terror  to  others.  It  seems,  the  Canaanites 
had  been  wasted  by  civil  wars,  and  those  bloody 
ones,  among  themselves,  which  would  very  much 
facilitate  the  conquest  of  them  by  Israel.  “  Judah,” 
says  Dr.  Liglitfoot,  “in  conquering  Adoni-bezek, 
did,  in  effect,  conquer  seventy  kings.”  (3.)  How 
justly  he  was  treated  as  he  had  treated  others.  Thus 
the  righteous  God  sometimes,  in  his  providence, 
makes  the  punishment  to  answer  the  sin,  and  ob¬ 
serves  an  equality  in  his  judgments;  the  spoiler 
should  be  spoiled,  and  the'  treacherous  dealer  dealt 
treacherously  with,  Isa.  33.  1.  And  they  that 
showed  no  mercy,  shall  have  no  mercy  showed  them. 
Jam.  2.  13.  See  Rev.  13.  10. — 18.  6.  (4.)  How 

honestly  he  owned  the  righteousness  of  God  herein. 
As  I  have  done,  so  God  has  requited  me.  See  the 
power  of  conscience,  when  God  by  his  judgments 
awakens  it,  how  it  brings  sin  to  remembrance,  and 
subscribes  to  the  justice  of  God.  He  that  in  his 
pride  had  set  God  at  defiance,  now  yields  to  him, 
and  reflects  with  as  much  regret  upon  the  kings  un¬ 
der  his  table,  as  ever  he  had  looked  upon  them  with 
pleasure  when  he  had  them  theie.  He  seems  to 
own  that  he  was  better  dealt  with  than  he  had 
dealt  with  his  prisoners;  for  though  the  Israelites 
maimed  him,  (according  to  the  law  of  retaliation, 
an  eye  for  an  eye,  so  a  thumb  for  a  thumb,)  yet 
they  did  not  put  him  under  the  table  to  be  fed  with 
the  crumbs  there;  because,  though  the  other  might 
well  be  looked  upon  as  an  act  of  justice,  that  would 
have  savoured  more  of  pride  and  haughtiness  thai 
did  become  an  Israelite 

VI.  Particular  notice  is  taken  of  the  conquest  of 
Jerusalem,  v.  8.  Our  translators  judge  it  spoken 
of  here,  as  done  formerly  in  Joshua’s  time,  and  only 
repeated  on  occasion  of  Adoni-bezek’s  dying  there, 
and  therefore  read  it,  “they  had  fought  against  Je¬ 
rusalem,”  and  put  this  verse  in  a  parenthesis;  but 
the  original  speaks  of  it  as  a  thing  now  done;  and 
that  seems  most  probable,  because  it  is  said  to  be 
done  by  the  children  of  Judah  in  particular,  not  by 
all  Israel  in  general,  whom  Joshua  commanded. 
Joshua  indeed  conquered  and  slew  Adoni-zedek, 
king  of  Jerusalem,  Josh.  10.  but  we  read  not  there 
of  his  taking  the  city;  probably,  while  he  was  put- 
suing  his  conquests  elsewhere,  this  Adoni-bezek,  a 
neighbouring  prince,  got  possession  of  it,  whom, 
hav  ing  conquered  in  the  field,  the  city  fell  into  their 
hands,  and  they  slew  the  inhabitants,  except  those 
who  retreated  into  the  castle,  and  held  cut  there  till 
David’s  time,  and  they  set  the  city  on  fire,  in  token 
of  their  detestation  of  the  idolatry  wherewith  it  had  < 
been  deeply  infected,  yet,  probably,  not  so  as  utterly 
to  consume  it,  but  to  leave  convenient  habitations 
for  as  many  :  s  they  had  to  put  into  the  possession 
of  it. 


105 


JUDGES,  I. 


9.  And  afterward  the  children  of  Ju¬ 
dah  went  down  to  fight  against  the  Canaan- 
ites,  that  dwelt  in  the  mountain,  and  in  the 
south,  and  in  the  valley.  10.  And  Judah 
went  against  the  Canaanites  that  dwelt  in 
Hebron,  (now  the  name  of  Hebron  before 
was  Kirjath-arba,)  and  they  slew  Sheshai, 
and  Ahiman,  and  Talmai.  11.  And  from 
thence  he  went  against  the  inhabitants  of 
Debir ;  (and  the  name  of  Debir  before  was 
Kirjath-sepher:)  1 2.  And  Caleb  said,  He 
that  smiteth  Kirjath-sepher,  and  taketh  it, 
to  him  will  I  give  Achsah  my  daughter  to 
wife.  13.  And  Othniel  the  son  of  Kenaz, 
Caleb’s  younger  brother,  took  it :  and  he 
gave  him  Achsah  his  daughter  to  wife.  1 4. 
And  it  came  to  pass,  when  she  came  to  him, 
that  she  moved  him  to  ask  of  her  father  a 
field  :  and  she  lighted  from  off  her  ass ;  and 
Caleb  said  unto  her,  What  wilt  thou  ?  1 5. 
And  she  said  unto  him,  Give  me  a  blessing : 
for  thou  hast  given  me  a  south  land,  give  me 
also  springs  of  water.  And  Caleb  gave  her 
the  upper  springs  and  the  nether  springs. 
16.  And  the  children  of  the  Kenite,  Mo¬ 
ses’  father-in-law,  went  up  out  of  the  city  of 
palm-trees  with  the  children  of  Judah  into 
the  wilderness  of  Judah,  which  lieth  in  the 
south  of  Arad :  and  they  went  and  dwelt 
among  the  people.  17.  And  Judah  went 
with  Simeon  his  brother,  and  they  slew  the 
Canaanites  that  inhabited  Zephath,  and 
utterly  destroyed  it :  (And  the  name  of  the 
city  was  called  Hormah.)  1 8.  Also  Judah 
took  Gaza  with  the  coast  thereof,  and 
Ashkelon  with  the  coast  thereof,  and 
Ekron  with  the  coast  thereof.  19.  And  the 
Lord  was  with  Judah,  and  he  drave  out 
the  inhabitants  of  the  mountain,  but  could 
not  drive  out  the  inhabitants  of  the  valley, 
because  they  had  chariots  of  iron.  20. 
And  they  gave  Hebron  unto  Caleb,  as  Mo¬ 
ses  said  :  and  he  expelled  thence  the  three 
sons  of  Anak. 

We  have  here  a  further  account  of  that  glorious  and 
successful  campaign  which  Judah  and  Simeon  made. 

1.  The  lot  of  Judah  was  pretty  well  cleared  of 
the  Canaanites,  yet  not  thoroughly.  Those  that 
dwelt  in  the  mountain  (the  mountains  that  were 
round  about  Jerus  dem)  were  driven  out,  (y.  9.  19.) 
but  those  in  the  valley  kept  their  ground  against 
them,  having  chariots  of  iron,  such  as  we  read  of, 
Josh.  17.  16.  Here  the  men  of  Judah  failed,  and 
thereby  spoiled  the  influence,  which  otherwise  their 
example  hitherto  might  have  had  on  the  rest  of  the 
tribes,  who  followed  them  in  this  instance  of  their 
cowardice,  rather  than  in  all  the  other  instances  of 
their  courage.  They  had  iron  chariots,  and  there- 
f  ire  it  was  thought  not  safe  to  attack  them ;  but  had 
not  Israel  God  on  their  side,  whose  chariots  are 
thousands  of  angels,  (Ps.  68.  17.)  before  whom 
these  iron  chariots  would  be  but  as  stubble  to  the 
fire?  Had  not  God  expressly  promised  by  the  ora¬ 
cle,  ( v .  2. )  to  give  them  success  against  the  Canaan- 
Vol.  II. — O 


ites  in  this  very  expedition,  without  excepting  those 
that  had  iron  chariots’1  Yet  they  suffered  their  fears 
to  prevail  against  their  faith,  they  could  not  trust 
God  under  any  disadvantages,  and  therefore  durst 
not  face  the  iron  chariots,  but  meanly  withdrew  their 
forces,  then  when  with  one  bold  stroke  they  might 
have  completed  their  victories;  and  it  proved  of 
pernicious  consequence.  They  did  run  well,  what 
hindered  them ;  Gal.  5.  7. 

2.  Caleb  was  put  in  possession  of  Hebron,  which, 
though  given  him  by  Joshua  ten  or  twelve  years 
ago,  (as  Dr.  Lightfoot  computes,)  yet  being  em¬ 
ployed  in  public  service,  for  the  settling  of  the 
tribes,  which  he  preferred  before  his  own  private 
interests,  it  seems  he  did  not  till  now  make  himself 
master  of;  so  well  content  was  that  good  man  to 
serve  others,  while  he  left  himself  to  be  served  last; 
few  men  are  like-minded,  for  all  seek  their  own, 
Phil.  2.  23,  21.  Yet  now  the  men  of  Judah  all  came 
in  to  his  assistance  for  the  reducing  of  Hebron, 
( v .  10.)  slew  the  sons  of  Anak,  and  put  him  in  pos¬ 
session  of  it,  v.  20.  They  gave  Hebron  unto  Caleb. 
And  now  Caleb,  that  he  might  return  the  kindness 
of  his  countrymen,  is  impatient  to  see  Debir  re¬ 
duced,  and  put  into  the  hands  of  the  men  of  Judah, 
to  expedite  which,  he  proffers  his  daughter  to  the 
person  that  will  undertake  to  command  in  the  siege 
of  that  important  place,  v.  11,  12.  Othniel  bravely 
undertakes  it,  and  wins  the  town  and  the  lady; 
( v .  13.)  and  by  his  wife’s  interest  and  management 
with  her  father,  gains  a  very  good  inheritance  for 
himself  and  family,  v.  14,  15.  We  had  this  passage 
before,  Josh.  15.  16*  *19,  where  it  was  largely  ex¬ 
plained  and  improved. 

3.  Simeon  got  ground  of  the  Canaanites  in  his 
border,  v.  17,  18.  In  the  eastern  part  of  Simeon’s 
lot,  they  destroyed  the  Canaanites  in  Zephath,  and 
called  it  Hormah,  destruction;  adding  this  to  some 
other  devoted  cities  not  far  off,  which  they  had 
some  time  ago,  with  that  reason,  called  by  that 
name,  Numb.  21.  2,  3.  And  this  perhaps  was  the 
complete  performance  of  the  vow  they  then  made, 
that  they  would  utterly  destroy  these  cities  of  the 
Canaanites  in  the  south.  In  the  western  part  they 
took  Gaza,  Askelon,  and  Ekron,  cities  of  the  Phi¬ 
listines;  they  gained  present  possession  of  the  cities, 
but  not  destroying  the  inhabitants,  the  Philistines 
in  process  of  time  recovered  the  cities,  and  proved 
inveterate  enemies  to  the  Israel  of  God,  and  no 
better  could  come  of  doing  their  work  by  the 
halves. 

4.  The  Kenites  gained  a  settlement  in  the  tribe 
of  Judah,  choosing  it  there,  rather  than  in  any  other 
tribe,  because  it  was  the  strongest,  and  there  they 
hoped  to  be  safe  and  quiet,  v.  16.  These  were  the 
posterity  of  Jethro,  who  either  went  with  Israel 
when  Moses  invited  them,  (Numb.  10.  29.)  or  met 
them  about  the  same  place,  when  they  came  up 
from  their  wanderings  in  the  wilderness  thirty- 
eight  years  after,  and  went  with  them  then  to  Ca¬ 
naan,  Moses  having  promised  them  that  they  should 
fare  as  Israel  fared,  Numb.  10.  32,  They  had  at 
first  seated  themselves  in  the  city  of  palm  trees,  that 
is,  Jericho,  a  city  which  never  was  to  be  rebuilt, 
and  therefore  the  fitter  for  them  who  dwelt  in  tents, 
and  did  not  mind  building.  But  afterward  they  re¬ 
moved  into  the  wilderness  of  Judah,  either  out  of 
their  affection  to  that  tribe,  which  perhaps  had 
been  in  a  particular  manner  kind  to  them.  Yet  we 
find  the  tent  of  Jael,  who  was  of  that  family,  far 
north,  in  the  lot  of  Naphtali,  when  Sisera  tnok  shel¬ 
ter  there,  ch.  4.  17.  This  respect  Israel  showed 
them  to  let  them  fix  where  they  pleased,  being  a 
quiet  people,  who,  wherever  they  were,  were  con¬ 
tent  with  a  little.  They  that  molested  none,  were 
molested  by  none.  Blessed  are  the  meek,  for  thus 
they  shall  inherit  the  earth . 


JUDGES,  1. 


10G 

21.  And  the  children  of  Benjamin  did  not 
drive  out  the  Jebusites  that  inhabited  Jeru¬ 
salem  ;  but  the  Jebusites  dwell  with  the 
children  of  Beniamin  in  Jerusalem  unto 
this  day.  22.  And  the  house  of  Joseph, 
they  also  went  up  against  Beth-el:  and  the 
Loud  was  with  them.  23.  And  the  house 
of  Joseph  sent  to  descry  Beth-el :  (Now  the 
name  of  the  city  before  was  Luz.)  24.  And 
the  spies  saw  a  man  come  forth  out  of  the 
city;  and  they  said  unto  him,  Show  us,  we 
pray  thee,  the  entrance  into  the  city,  and 
we  will  show  thee  mercy.  25.  And  when 
he  showed  them  the  entrance  into  the  city, 
they  smote  the  city  with  the  edge  of  the 
sword ;  but  they  let  go  the  man  and  all  his 
family.  26.  And  the  man  went  into  the 
land  of  the  Hittites,  and  built  a  city,  and 
called  the  name  thereof  Luz :  which  is  the 
name  thereof  unto  this  day.  27.  Neither 
did  Manasseh  drive  out  the  inhabitants  of 
Beth-shean  and  her  towns,  nor  Taanach 
and  her  towns,  nor  the  inhabitants  of  Dor 
and  her  towns,  nor  the  inhabitants  of  Ibleam 
and  her  towns,  nor  the  inhabitants  of  Me- 
giddo  and  her  towns;  but  the  Canaanites 
would  dwell  in  that  land.  28.  And  it  came 
to  pass,  when  Israel  was  strong,  that  they 
put  the  Canaanites  to  tribute,  and  did  not 
utterly  drive  them  out.  29.  Neither  did 
Ephraim  drive  out  the  Canaanites  that 
dwelt  in  Gezer ;  but  the  Canaanites  dwelt 
in  Gezer  among  them.  30.  Neither  did 
Zebulun  drive  out  the  inhabitants  of  Kitron, 
nor  the  inhabitants  of  Nahalol ;  but  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  dwelt  among  them,  and  became 
tributaries.  31.  Neither  did  Asher  drive 
out  the  inhabitants  of  Accho,  nor  the  inhabi¬ 
tants  of  Zidon,  nor  of  Ahlab,  nor  of  Achzib, 
nor  of  Helbah,  nor  of  Aphik,  nor  of  Rehob : 
32.  But  the  Asherites  dwelt  among  the  Ca¬ 
naanites,  the  inhabitants  of  the  land ;  for 
they  did  not  drive  them  out.  33.  Neither 
did  Naphtali  drive  out.  the  inhabitants  of 
Beth-shemesh,  nor  the  inhabitants  of  Beth- 
anath  ;  but  he  dwelt  among  the  Canaanites, 
the  inhabitants  of  the  land:  nevertheless 
the  inhabitants  of  Beth-shemesh  and  of 
Beth-anath  became  tributaries  unto  them. 

34.  And  the  Amorites  forced  the  children 
of  Dan  into  the  mountain  :  for  they  would 
not  Suffer  them  to  comedown  to  the  valley: 

35.  But  the  Amorites  would  dwell  in  mount 
Ueres  in  Ajalon,  and  in  Shaalbim;  yet  the 
hand  of  the  house  of  Joseph  prevailed,  so 
that  they  became  tributaries.  36.  And  the 
coast  of  the  Amorites  was  from  the  going 
up  to  Akrabbim,  from  the  rock,  and  up¬ 
ward. 

We  are  here  told  upon  what  terms  the  rest  of 


the  tribes  stood  with  the  Canaanites  that  remained 

I.  Benjamin  neglected  to  drive  the  Jebusites  out 
of  that  part  of  the  city  of  Jerusalem  which  fell  to 
their  lot,  v.  21.  Judah  had  set  them  a  good  exam¬ 
ple,  and  gained  them  great  advantages  by  what 
they  did,  (a;.  9. )  but  they  did  not  follow  the  blow 
for  want  of  resolution. 

II.  The  house  of  Joseph  bestirred  themselves  a 

little  to  get  possession  of  Beth-el,  v.  22.  That  this 
city  is  mentioned  in  the  tribe  of  Benjamin,  Josh. 
18.  22.  Yet  it  is  spoken  of  there,  ( v .  13.)  as  a  city 
in  the  borders  of  that  tribe,  and  it  should  seem,  the 
line  went  through  it,  so  that  one  half  of  it  only  be¬ 
longed  to  Benjamin,  the  other  half  to  Ephraim;  and 
perhaps  the  activity  of  the  Ephraimites  at  this  time, 
to  recover  it  from  the  Canaanites,  secured  it  entirely 
to  them  from  henceforward,  or  at  least  the  greatest 
part  of  it,  for  afterward  we  find  it  so  much  under  the 
power  of  the  ten  tribes,  (and  Benjamin  was  none  ot 
them,)  that  Jeroboam  set  up  one  of  his  calves  in  it. 
In  this  account  of  the  expedition  of  the  Ephraimites 
against  Beth-el,  observe,  1.  Their  interest  in  the 
divine  favour.  The  Lord  wan  with  them,  and  would 
have  been  with  the  tribes,  if  they  would  have  ex¬ 
erted  their  strength.  The  Chaldee  reads  it  here, 
as  in  many  other  places,  The  word  of  the  Lord  was 
their  Hel/ier,  namely,  Christ  himself,  the  Captain 
of  the  Lord’s  host,  now  that  they  acted  separately, 
as  well  as  when  they  were  all  in  one  body.  2.  The 
prudent  measures  they  took  to  gain  the  city.  They 
sent  spies  to  observe  what  part  of  the  city  was 
weakest,  or  which  way  they  might  make  their  at¬ 
tack  with  most  advantage,  v.  23.  These  spies  got 
very  good  information  from  a  man  they  providen¬ 
tially  met  with,  who  showed  them  a  private  way 
into  the  town,  which  was  therefore  left  unguarded, 
because,  being  not  generally  known,  no  danger  was 
suspected  on  that  side.  And  here,  (1.)  He  is  not 
to  be  blamed  for  giving  them  this  intelligence,  if  he 
did  it  from  a  conviction  that  the  Lord  was  with 
them ,  and  that  by  his  donation  the  land  was  theirs 
of  right,  any  more  than  Rahab  was  for  entertaining 
those  whom  she  knew  to  be  enemies  of  her  country, 
but  friends  of  God.  Nor,  (2.)  Are  they  to  be 
blamed  who  showed  him  mercy,  gave  him  and 
his  family  not  only  their  lives,  but  liberty  to  go 
wherever  they  pleased:  for  one  good  turn  requires 
another.  But,  it  seems,  he  would  not  join  himself 
to  the  people  of  Israel,  he  feared  them  rather  than 
loved  them,  and  therefore  he  removed  after  a  colo¬ 
ny  of  the  Hittites,  which,  it  should  seem,  was  gone 
into  Arabia,  and  settled  thei’e  upon  Joshua’s  inva¬ 
sion  of  the  country;  with  them  this  man  chose  to 
dwell,  and  among  them  he  built  a  city,  a  small  one, 
we  may  suppose,  such  as  planters  used  to  build,  and 
in  the  name  of  it  preserved  the  ancient  name  of  his 
native  city,  Luz,  an  almond  tree,  preferring  that 
before  its  new  name  which  carried  religion  in  it, 
Beth-el,  the  house  of  God.  3.  Their  success;  the 
spies  brought  or  sent  notice  of  the  intelligence  they 
had  gained  to  the  army,  which  improved  their  ad- 
vantages,  surprised  the  city,  and  put  them  all  to  the 
sword,  v.  25.  But  beside  this  achievement,  it  seems, 
the  children  of  Joseph  did  nothing  remarkable. 
(1.)  Manasseh  failed  to  drive  out  the  Canaanites 
from  several  very  considerable  cities  in  their  lot, 
and  did  not  make  any  attempt  upon  them,  v.  27. 
But  the  Canaanites  being  in  possession,  were  re¬ 
solved  not  to  quh  it,  they  would  dwell  in  that  land, 
and  Manasseh  had  not  resolution  enough  to  offer  to 
dispossess  them;  as  if  there  were  no  meddling  with 
them,  unless  they  were  willing  to  resign,  which  it 
was  not  to  be  expected  they  ever  would  be.  Onlv 
as  Israel  got  strength,  they  got  ground,  and  served 
themselves,  both  by  their  contributions,  and  by 
their  personal  services,  v.  28,  35.  (2.)  Ephraim 

likewise,  though  a  powerful  tribe  neglected  Gezer, 


JUDGES,  II. 


a  considerable  city,  and  suffered  the  Canaanites  to 
dwell  among  them,  (v.  29.)  which  some  think,  inti¬ 
mates  their  allowing  them  a  quiet  settlement,  and 
indulging  them  the  privileges  of  an  unconquered 
people,  not  so  much  as  making  them  their  tributa¬ 
ries. 

III.  Zebulun,  perhaps  inclining  to  the  sea-trade, 
for  it  was  foretold  that  it  should  be  a  haven  for  ships, 
neglected  to  reduce  Kitron  and  Nahalol,  (v.  30. ) 
and  only  made  the  inhabitants  of  those  places  tribu¬ 
taries  to  them. 

IV.  Asher  quitted  itself  worse  than  any  of  the 
tribes,  ( v .  31,  32.)  not  only  in  leaving  more  towns 
than  any  of  them  in  the  hands  of  the  Canaanites, 
but  in  submitting  to  the  Canaanites,  instead  of 
making  them  tributaries;  for  so  the  manner  of  ex¬ 
pression  intimates,  that  the  Asherites  dwelt  among 
the  Canaanites,  as  if  the  Canaanites  were  the  more 
numerous,  and  the  more  powerful,  would  still  be 
lords  of  the  country,  and  the  Israelites  must  be  only 
upon  sufferance  among  them. 

V.  Naphtali  also  permitted  the  Canaanites  to  live 
among  them,  (x».  33.)  only  by  degrees  they  got 
them  so  far  under  as  to  exact  contributions  from 
them. 

VI.  Dan  was  so  far  from  extending  his  conquests 
there  where  his  lot  lay,  that,  wanting  spirit  to  make 
head  against  the  Amorites,  he  was  forced  by  them 
to  retire  into  the  mountains  and  inhabit  the  cities 
there,  but  durst  not  venture  into  the  valley,  where, 
it  is  probable,  the  chariots  of  iron  were,  v.  34.  Nay, 
and  some  of  the  cities  in  the  mountains  were  kept 
against  them,  v.  35.  Thus  were  they  straitened  in 
their  possessions,  and  forced  to  seek  for  more  room 
at  Laish,  a  great  way  off,  ch.  18.  1,  isfc.  In  Jacob’s 
blessing,  Judah  is  compared  to  a  lion,  Dan  to  a  ser¬ 
pent;  now  observe  how  Judah  with  his  lion-like 
courage  prospered  and  prevailed,  but  Dan  with  all 
his  serpentine  subtlety  could  get  no  ground;  craft 
and  artful  management  do  not  always  effect  the 
wonders  they  pretend  to.  What  Dan  came  short  i 
of  doing,  it  seems  his  neighbours  the  Ephraimites 
in  part  did  for  him;  they  put  the  Amorites  under  ; 
tribute,  v.  35. 

Upon  the  whole  matter,  it  appears  that  the  peo¬ 
ple  of  Israel  were  generally  very  careless  both  of 
their  duty  and  interest  in  this  thing;  they  did  not 
what  they  might  have  done  to  expel  the  Canaanites 
and  make  room  for  themselves.  And,  1.  It  was 
owing  to  their  slothfulness  and  cowardice;  they 
would  not  be  at  the  pains  to  complete  their  con¬ 
quests;  like  the  sluggard,  that  dreamed  of  a  lion  in 
the  way,  a  lion  in  the  streets,  they  fancied  insuper¬ 
able  difficulties,  and  frightened  themselves  with 
winds  and  clouds  from  sowing  and  reaping.  2.  It 
was  owing  to  their  covetousness;  the  Canaanites’ 
labour  and  money  would  do  them  more  good  (they 
thought)  than  their  blood,  and  therefore  they  were 
willing  to  let  them  live  among  them,  that  they 
might  make  a  hand  of  them.  3.  They  had  not  that 
dread  and  detestation  of  idolatry,  which  they  ought 
to  have  had;  they  thought  it  pity  to  put  these  Ca¬ 
naanites  to  the  sword,  though  the  measure  of  their 
iniquity  was  full;  thought  it  would  be  no  harm  to 
let  them  live  among  them,  and  that  they  should  be 
in  no  danger  from  them.  4.  The  same  thing  that 
kept  their  fathers  forty  years  out  of  Canaam  kept 
them  now  out  of  the  full  possession  of  it,  and  that 
was,  unbelief.  Distrust  of  the  power  and  promise 
of  God  lost  them  their  advantages,  and  run  them 
into  a  thousand  mischiefs. 

CHAP.  IL 

In  mis  chapter,  we  have,  I.  A  particular  message  which 

God  sent  to  Israel  by  an  angel,  and  the  impression  it 

made  upon  them,  v.  ]  . .  3.  II.  A  general  idea  of  the 

state  of  Israel  during  the  government  of  the  Judges.  In 


which  observe,  1.  Their  adherence  to  God  while  Joshua 
and  the  elders  lived,  v.  6  .  .  10.  2.  Their  revolt  afterward 
to  idolatry,  v.  11  . .  13.  3.  God’s  displeasure  against  them, 
and  his  judgments  upon  them  for  it,  14. .  15.  4.  His 

pity  toward  them,  showed  in  raising  them  up  deliverers, 
v.  16,  18.  5.  Their  relapse  into  idolatry  after  the  judg¬ 
ment  was  over,  v.  17,  19.  6.  The  full  stop  God  in  anger 

put  to  their  success,  v.  20.  .  23.  These  are  the  contents, 
not  only  of  this  chapter,  but  of  the  whole  book. 

!•  4  ND  an  angel  of  the  Lord  came  up 
l  from  Gilgal  to  Bochiin,  and  said,  J 
[  made  you  to  go  up  out  of  Egypt,  and  have 
brought  you  unto  the  land  which  1  svvare 
unto  your  fathers ;  and  i  said,  I  will  never 
break  mv  covenant  w  ith  you.  2.  And  ye 
shall  make  no  league  with  the  inhabitants 
of  this  land;  ye  shall  throw  down  their  al 
tars  :  but  ye  have  not  obeyed  my  voice : 
why  have  ye  done  this  ?  3.  Wherefore  ] 

also  said,  I  will  not  drive  them  out  from  be¬ 
fore  you  ;  but  they  shall  be  ns  thorns  in  your 
sides,  and  their  gods  shall  be  a  snare  unto 
you.  4.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  the  an¬ 
gel  of  the  Lord  spake  these  words  unto  all 
the  children  of  Israel,  that,  the  people  lifted 
up  their  voice,  and  wept.  5.  And  they 
called  the  name  of  that  place  Bochim  :  and 
they  sacrificed  there  unto  the  Lord. 

It  was  the  privilege  of  Israel,  that  they  had  not 
only  a  law  in  general  sent  them  from  heaven,  once 
for  all,  to  direct  them  into,  and  keep  them  in,  the 
way  to  happiness,  but  that  they  had  particular  mes¬ 
sages  sent  them  from  heaven,  as  there  was  occa¬ 
sion,  f  r  reproof,  for  correction,  and  for  instruction 
in  righteousness,  when  at  any  time  they  turned  aside 
out  of  that  way.  Beside  the  written  word  which 
they  had  before  them  to  read,  they  often  heu  d  a 
word  behind  them,  saying,  This  is  the  wav,  Isa.  30. 
21.  Here  begins  that  way  of  God’s  dealing  with 
them.  When  they  would  not  hear  Moses,  let  it  be 
tried  whether  they  will  hear  the  prophets.  In 
l  these  verses  we  have  a  very  awakening  sermon 
that  was  preached  to  them  when  they  began  to  cool 
in  their  religion. 

I.  The  preacher  was  an  angel  of  the  Lord,  (n.  1.) 
not  a  prophet,  not  Phinehas,  as  the  Jews  conceit; 
gospel  ministers  are  indeed  called  angels  of  the 
churches,  but  the  Old  Testament  prophets  are  ne¬ 
ver  called  angels  of  the  Lord;  no  doubt,  this  was 
a  messenger  from  heaven.  Such  extraordinary 
messengers  we  sometimes  find  in  this  book,  em¬ 
ployed  in  the  raised  up  of  the  Judges  that  delivered 
Israel,  as  Gideon  and  Samson,  and  now,  to  show 
how  various  the  good  offices  are  they  do  for  God’s 
Israel,  here  is  one  sent  to  preach  to  them,  to  pre¬ 
vent  their  falling  into  sin  and  trouble.  This  extra¬ 
ordinary  messenger  was  sent  to  command,  if  possi¬ 
ble,  their  great  regard  to  the  message,  and  to  affect 
the  minds  of  a  people,  whom  nothing  seemed  to  af¬ 
fect  but  what  was  sensible.  The  learned  Bishop 
Patrick  is  clearly  of  opinion,  that  this  was  not  a 
created  angel,  but  the  angel  of  the  covenant;  the 
same  that  appeared  to  Joshua  as  Ca/itain  of  the 
hosts  of  the  Lord,  who  was  God  himself.  Christ 
himself,  says  Dr.  Lightfoot:  who  but  God  and 
Christ  could  say,  I  made  you  to  go  vfi  out  of  Egypt? 
Joshua  had  lately  admonished  them  to  take  heed 
of  entangling  themselves  with  the  Canaanites,  but 
they  regarded  not  the  words  of  a  dying  man;  the 
same  warning  therefore  is  here  brought  them  by 
the  living  God  himself,  the  Son  of  God  appearing 
as  an  angel.  If  they  slight  his  servants,  surely  they 


1  o8  JUDGES,  JI. 


will  reverence  his  Son.  This  angel  of  the  Lord  is 
said  to  come  up  from  Gilgal,  perhaps  not  walking 
on  the  earth,  but  flying  swiftly,  as  the  angel  Ga¬ 
briel  did  to  Daniel,  in  the  open  firmament  of  hea¬ 
ven;  but  whether  walking  or  flying,  he  seemed  to 
come  from  Gilgal,  for  a  particular  reason;  Gilgal 
was  long  their  head  quarters  after  they  came  into 
Canaan,  many  signal  favours  they  had  there  re¬ 
ceived  from  God,  and  there  the  covenant  of  cir¬ 
cumcision  was  renewed,  (Mic.  6.  5.)  of  all  which  it 
was  designed  they  should  be  reminded  by  his  coming 
from  Gilgal.  The  remembrance  of  what  we  have 
recerved  and  heard ,  will  prepare  us  for  a  warning 
to  hold  fast,  Rev.  3.  2,  3. 

II.  The  persons  to  whom  this  sermon  was 
preached,  were  all  the  children  of  Israel,  v.  4.  A 
great  congregation  for  a  great  preacher!  They  were 
assembled  either  for  war,  each  tribe  sending  id  its 
forces  for  some  great  expedition,  or  rather  for  wor¬ 
ship,  and  then  the  place  of  their  meeting  must  be 
Shiloh,  where  the  tabernacle  was,  at  which  they 
were  all  to  come  together,  three  times  a  year. 
When  we  attend  upon  God  in  instituted  ordinances, 
we  may  expect  to  hear  from  him,  and  to  receive 
his  gifts  at  his  own  gates.  The  place  is  called  Bo- 
chim,  (v.  1.)  because  it  gained  that  name  upon  this 
occasion.  All  Israel  need  the  reproof  and  warning 
here  given,  and  therefore  it  is  spoken  to  them  all. 

III.  The  sermon  .itself  is  short,  but  very  close. 
God  here  tells  them  plainly,  1.  What  had  he  done 
for  them,  v.  1.  He  had  brought  them  out  of  Egypt, 
a  land  of  slavery  and  toil,  into  Canaan,  a  land  of 
rest,  liberty,  and  plenty.  The  miseries  of  the  one 
served  as  a  foil  to  the  felicities  of  the  other.  God 
had  herein  been  kind  to  them,  true  to  the  oath 
sworn  to  their  fathers,  had  given  such  proofs  of  his 
power  as  left  them  inexcusable  if  they  distrusted  it, 
and  such  engagement  to  his  service,  as  left  them, 
inexcusable  if  they  deserted  it.  2.  What  he  had 
promised  them;  I  said,  I  will  never  break  my  cove¬ 
nant  with  you.  When  he  took  them  to  be  his  pe¬ 
culiar  people,  it  was  r^>t  with  any  design  to  cast 
them  on  again,  or  to  change  them  for  another  peo¬ 
ple  at  his  pleasure;  let  them  but  be  faithful  to  him, 
and  they  should  find  him  unchangeably  constant  to 
them.  He  told  them  plainly  that  the  covenant  he 
entered  into  with  them  should  never  break,  unless 
it  broke  on  their  side.  3.  What  were  his  just  and 
reasonable  expectations  from  them,  v.  2.  1  hat  be¬ 
ing  taken  into  covenant  with  God,  they  should 
make  no  league  with  the  Canaanites,  who  were 
both  his  enemies  and  theirs.  That  having  set  up 
his  altar,  they  should  throw  down  their  altars,  lest 
they  should  be  a  temptation  to  them  to  serve  their 
gods.  Could  any  thing  be  demanded  more  easy? 

4.  How  they  had  in  this  very  thing,  which  he  had 
most  insisted  on,  disobeyed  him.  “  But  ye  have  not 
in  so  small  a  matter  obeyed  my  voice.”  In  con¬ 
tempt  of  their  covenant  with  God,  and  their  con¬ 
federacy  with  each  other  in  that  covenant,  they 
made  leagues  of  friendship  with  the  idolatrous  de¬ 
voted  Canaanites,  and  connived  at  their  altars, 
though  they  stood  in  competition  with  God’s: 
“  Why  have  ye  done  this?  What  account  can  you 
give  of  this  perverseness  of  your’s  at  the  bar  of  right 
reason?  What  apology  can  you  make  for  your¬ 
selves,  or  what  excuse  can  you  offer?”  They  that 
throw  off  their  communion  with  God,  and  have  fel¬ 
lowship  with  the  unfruitful  works  of  darkness, 
know  not  what  they  do  now,  and  will  have  nothing 
to  say  for  themselves  in  the  day  of  account  shortly. 

5.  How  thev  rriust  expect  to  smart  by  and  by  for 
this  their  folly,  v.  3.  Their  tolerating  of  the  Ca¬ 
naanites  among  them  would,  (1.)  Put  a  period  to 
their  victories;  “  You  will  not  drive  them  out,” 
savs  God,  “and  therefore  /  will  not;”  thus  their 
sin  was  made  their  punishment.  Thus  they  who 


indulge  their  lusts  and  corruptions,  which  they 
should  mortify,  forfeit  the  grace  of  God,  and  it  is 
justly  withdrawn  from  them.  If  we  will  not  resist 
the  Devil,  we  cannot  expect  that  God  should  tread 
him  under  our  feet.  (2. )  It  would  involve  them  in 
continual  troubles.  “  They  shall  be  thorns  in  your 
sides  to  gore  you,  which  way  soever  you  turn,  al¬ 
ways  doing  you  one  mischief  or  other.*  Those  de¬ 
ceive  themselves,  who  expect  advantage  by  friend¬ 
ship  with  those  that  are  enemies  to  God.  '  (3. )  It 
would  (which  was  worst  of  all)  expose  them  to  con¬ 
stant  temptation,  and  draw  them  to  sin.  “  Their 
gods”  (their  abominations,  so  the  Chaldee)  “  will 
be  a  snare  to  you,  you  will  find  yourselves  wretch¬ 
edly  entangled  in  an  affection  to  them,  and  it  will 
be  your  ruin;”  so  some  read  it.  Those  that  ap¬ 
proach  sin,  are  justly  left  to  themselves  to  fall  into 
sin,  and  to  perish  in  it.  God  often  makes  men’s  sin 
their  punishment;  and  thorns  and  snares  are  in  the 
way  of  the  froward,  who  will  walk  contrary  to 
God. 

IV.  The  good  success  of  this  sermon  is  very  re¬ 
markable — the  people  lifted  ufi  their  voice  and 
we/i t,  v.  4.  1.  The  angel  had  told  them  of  their 

sins,  which  they  thus  expressed  their  sorrow  for; 
they  lifted  up  their  voice  in  confession  of  sin,  crying 
out  against  their  own  folly  and  ingratitude,  and 
wept,  as  those  that  were  both  ashamed  of  them¬ 
selves,  and  angry  at  themselves,  as  having  acted  so 
directly  contrary  both  to  their  reason  and  to  their 
interest.  2.  The  angel  had  threatened  them  with 
the  judgment  of  God,  which  they  thus  expressed 
their  dread  of;  they  lifted  up  their  voice  in  prayer 
to  God  to  turn  away  his  wrath  from  them,  and  wept 
for  fear  of  that  wrath.  They  relented  upon  this 
alarm,  and  their  hearts  melted  within  them,  and 
trembled  at  the  word,  and  not  without  cause.  This 
was  good,  and  a  sign  that  the  word  they  heard, 
made  an  impression  upon  them;  it  is  a  wonder  sin¬ 
ners  can  ever  read  their  Bibles  with  dry  eyes:  but 
this  was  not  enough;  they  wept,  but  we  do  not  find 
that  they  reformed,  that  they  went  home  and  de¬ 
stroyed  all  the  remains  of  idolatry  and  idolaters 
among  them.  Many  are  melted  under  the  word, 
that  harden  again,  before  they  are  cast  into  a  new 
mould.  However,  this  general  weeping,  (1.)  Gave 
a  new  name  to  the  place,  (v.  5. )  they  called  it  Bo- 
chim,  Wee/iers,  a  good  name  for  our  religious  assem¬ 
blies  to  answer.  Had  they  kept  close  to  God  and 
their  duty,  no  voice  but  that  of  singing  had  been 
heard  in  their  congregation;  but  by  their  sin  and 
folly  they  had  made  other  work  for  themselves, 
and  now  nothing  is  to  be  heard  but  the  voice  of 
weeping.  (2.)  It  gave  occasion  for  a  solemn  sacri¬ 
fice;  they  sacrificed  there  unto  the  Lord,  being  (as 
is  supposed)  met  at  Shiloh,  where  God’s  altar  was. 
They  offered  sacrifice  to  turn  away  God’s  wrath, 
and  to  obtain  his  favour,  and  in  token  of  their  dedi¬ 
cation  of  themselves  to  him,  and  to  him  only, 
making  a  covenant  by  this  sacrifice.  The  disease 
being  thus  taken  in  time,  and  the  physic  adminis¬ 
tered  working  so  well,  one  would  have  hoped  a 
cure  might  have  been  effected.  But  by  the  sequel 
of  the  story,  it  appears  to  have  been  too  deeply  root¬ 
ed  to  be  wept  out. 

6.  And  when  Joshua  had  let  the  people 
go,  the  children  of  Israel  went  every  man 
unto  his  inheritance  to  possess  the  land. 
7.  And  the  people  served  the  Lord  all  the 
days  of  Joshua,  and  all  the  days  of  the 
elders  that  outlived  Joshua,  who  had  seen 
all  the  great  works  of  the  Lord,  that  he 
did  for  Israel.  8.  And  Joshua  the  son  of 
Nun,  the  servant  of  the  Lord,  died,  being 


109 


JUDGES,  IJ. 


a  hundred  and  ten  year.;  old.  9.  And  they 
Diiiied  him  in  the  border  of  his  inheritance 
in  Timnath-heres,  in  the  mount  of  Ephraim, 
on  the  north  side  of  the  hill  Gaash.  10. 
And  also  all  that  generation  were  gathered 
unto  their  fathers  :  and  there  arose  another 
generation  after  them,  which  knew  not  the 
Lord,  nor  yet  the  works  which  he  had 
done  for  Israel  1 1 .  And  the  children  of 
Israel  did  evil  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord, 
and  served  Baalim:  12.  And  they  forsook 
the  Lord  God  of  their  fathers,  which 
brought  them  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  and 
followed  other  gods,  of  the  gods  of  the  peo¬ 
ple  that  were  round  about  them,  and  bowed 
themselves  unto  them,  and  provoked  the 
Lord  to  anger.  13.  And  they  forsook  the 
Lord,  and  served  Baal  and  Ashtaroth. 

1 4.  And  the  anger  of  the  Lord  was  hot 
against  Israel,  and  he  delivered  them  into 
the  hands  of  spoilers  that  spoiled  them,  and 
he  sold  them  into  the  hands  of  their  enemies 
round  about,  so  that  they  could  not  any  long¬ 
er  stand  before  their  enemies.  1 5.  Whither¬ 
soever  they  went  out,  the  hand  of  the  Lord 
was  against  them  for  evil,  as  the  Lord  had 
said,  and  as  the  Lord  had  sworn  unto 
them :  and  they  were  greatly  distressed. 
16.  Nevertheless  the  Lord  raised  up 
judges,  which  delivered  them  out  of  the 
hand  of  those  that  spoiled  them.  1 7.  And 
yet  they  would  not  hearken  unto  their 
judges,  but  they  went  a  whoring  after  other 
gods,  and  bowed  themselves  unto  them : 
they  turned  quickly  out  of  the  way  which 
their  fathers  walked  in,  obeying  the  com¬ 
mandments  of  the  Lord  ;  but  they  did  not 
so.  18.  And  when  the  Lord  raised  them 
up  judges,  then  the  Lord  was  with  the 
judge,  and  delivered  them  out  of  the  hand 
of  their  enemies  all  the  days  of  the  judge: 
for  it  repented  the  Lord  because  of  their 
groanings,  by  reason  of  them  that  oppressed 
them  and  vexed  them.  1 9.  And  it  came  to 
pass,  when  the  judge  was  dead,  that  they 
returned  and  corrupted  themselves  more  than 
their  fathers,  in  following  other  gods  to 
serve  them,  and  to  bow  down  unto  them  : 
they  ceased  not  from  their  own  doings,  nor 
from  their  stubborn  way.  20.  And  the  an¬ 
ger  of  the  Lord  was  hot  against  Israel ; 
and  he  said,  Because  that  this  people  hath 
transgressed  my  covenant  which  I  com¬ 
manded  their  fathers,  and  have  not  hearken¬ 
ed  unto  my  voice,  21.  I  also  will  not 
henceforth  drive  out  any  from  before  them 
of  the  nations  which  Joshua  left  when  he 
died ;  22.  That  through  them  I  may  prove 
Israel,  whether  they  will  keep  the  way  of 
(he  Lord,  to  walk  therein,  as  their  fathers 


I  did  keep  it,  or  not.  23.  Therefore  the  Lord 
left  those  nations,  without  driving  them  out 
hastily  ;  neither  delivered  he  them  into  the 
hand  of  Joshua. 

The  beginning  of  this  paragraph  is  only  a  repe¬ 
tition  of  what  account  we  had  before  of  the  people’s 
good  ch&racter,  during  the  government  of  Joshua, 
and  of  his  death  and  burial,  Josh.  24.  29,  30.  Which 
|  comes  in  here  again,  only  to  make  way  for  the  fol- 
lowing  account,  which  this  chapter  gives,  of  their 
!  degeneracy  and  apostasy.  The  angel  had  foretold 
1  that  the  Canaanites  and  their  idols  would  be  a  snare 
to  Israel:  now  the  historian  undertakes  to  show 
that  they  were  so,  and  that  they  may  appear  the 
more  clear,  he  looks  back  a  little,  and  "takes  notice, 
1.  Of  their  happy  settlement  in  the  land  of  Canaan. 
Joshua,  having  distributed  this  land  among  them, 
dismissed  them  to  the  qu:et  and  comfortable  pos¬ 
session  of  it,  v.  6.  He  sent  them  away,  not  cnlv 
every  tribe,  but  every  man  to  his  inheritance,  no 
doubt,  giving  them  his  blessing.  2.  Of  their  con¬ 
tinuance  in  the  faith  and  fear  of  God’s  holy  name  as 
long  as  Joshua  lived,  v.  7.  As  they  went  to  their 
possessions  with  good  resolutions  to  cleave  to  God, 
so  they  persisted  for  some  time  in  these  good  reso¬ 
lutions,  as  long  as  they  had  good  rulers  that  set  them 
good  examples,  gave  them  good  instructions,  and 
reproved  and  restrained  the  corruptions  that  crept 
in  among  them;  and  as  long  as  they  had  in  remem¬ 
brance  the  great  things  God  did  for  them  when  he 
brought  them  into  Canaan:  they  that  had  seen 
these  wonders,  had  so  much  sense  as  to  believe 
their  own  eyes,  and  so  much  reason  as  to  serve  that 
God  who  had  appeared  so  gloriously  on  their  be¬ 
half;  but  they  that  followed,  because  they  had  not 
seen,  believed  not.  3.  Of  the  death  and  burial  of 
Joshua,  which  gave  a  fatal  stroke  to  the  interests 
of  religion  among  the  people,  v.  8,  9.  Yet  so  much 
sense  they  had  of  their  obligations  to  him,  that  they 
did  him  honour  at  his  death,  and  buried  him  in  Tim¬ 
nath-heres ;  so  it  is  called  here,  not,  as  in  Joshua, 
Timnath-serah.  Hercs  signifies  the  sun;  a  repre¬ 
sentation  of  which,  some  think,  was  set  upon  his  se¬ 
pulchre,  and  ga\e  name  to  it,  in  remembrance  of 
the  sun’s  standing  still  at  his  word.  So  divers  of  the 
Jewish  writers  say;  but  I  much  question  whether 
an  image  of  the  sun  would  be  allowed  to  the  honour 
of  Joshua,  at  that  time,  when,  by  reason  of  men’s 
general  proneness  to  worship  the  sun,  it  would  be 
in  danger  of  being  abused  to  the  dishonour  of  God. 
4.  Of  the  rising  of  a  new  generation,  v.  10.  All 
that  generation  in  a  few  years  wore  off,  their  good 
instructions  and  examples  died  and  were  buried 
with  them,  and  there  arose  another  generation  of 
Israelites  who  had  so  little  sense  of  religion,  and 
were  in  so  little  care  about  it,  that  notwithstanding 
all  the  advantages  of  their  education,  one  might 
truly  say,  that  they  knew  not  the  Lord,  knew  him 
not  aright,  knew  him  not  as  he  had  revealed  him¬ 
self,  else  they  would  not  have  forsaken  him.  They 
were  so  entirely  devoted  to  the  world,  sq  intent 
upon  the  business  of  it,  and  so  indulgent  of  the  flesh 
in  ease  and  luxury,  that  they  never  minded  the 
true  God  and  his  holy  religion,  and  so  were  easily 
drawn  aside  to  false  gods  and  their  abominable  su¬ 
perstitions. 

And  so  he  comes  to  give  us  a  general  idea  of  the 
series  of  things  in  Israel,  during  the  time  of  the 
Judges;  the  same  repeated  in  the  same  order. 

I.  The  people  of  Israel  forsook  the  God  of  Israel, 
and  gave  that  worship  and  honour,  to  the  dunghill- 
deities  of  the  Canaanites,  which  was  due  to  him 
alone,  Be  astonished,  O  heavens,  at  this,  and  won¬ 
der,  O  earth!  Hath  a  nation,  such  a  nation,  so  well 
fed,  so  well  taught,  changed  its  God,  such  a  God,  a 


no 


JUDGES,  II. 


God  of  infinite  power,  unspotted  purity,  inexhausti-  ' 
ble  goodness,  and  so  very  jealous  of  a  competitor,  | 
for  stocks  and  stones  that  could  do  neither  good  nor 
evil?  Jer.  2.  11,  12.  Never  was  there  such  an 
instance  of  folly,  ingratitude,  and  perfidiousness. 
Observe  how  it  is  described  here,  v.  11,  13.  In 
general,  they  did  evil ,  nothing  could  be  more  evil, 
that  is,  more  provoking  to  God,  nor  more  prejudi¬ 
cial  to  themselves;  and  it  was  in  the  sight  of  the 
Lord;  all  evil  is  before  him,  but  he  takes  special 
notice  of  the  sin  of  having  any  other  god.  In  par¬ 
ticular,  1.  They  forsook  the  Lord ;  (x>.  12.  and  again, 
v.  13.)  this  was  one  of  the  great  evils  they  were 
guilty  of,  Jer.  2.  13.  They  had  been  joined  to  the 
Lord  in  covenant,  but  now  they  forsook  him,  as  a 
wife  treacherously  defiarteth  from  her  husband. 

“  They  forsook  the  worship  of  the  Lord,”  so  the 
Ch  ildee:  for  they  that  forsake  the  worship  of  God, 
do  in  effect  forsake  God  himself.  It  aggravated  this, 
that  he  was  the  God  of  their  fathers,  so  that  they 
were  born  in  his  house,  and  therefore  bound  to  serve 
him;  and  that  he  brought  them  out  of  the  land  of 
Rgyjit,  he  loosed  their  bonds,  and  upon  that  account 
also  they  were  obliged  to  serve  him.  2.  When  they 
forsook  the  only  true  God  they  did  not  turn  athe¬ 
ists,  nor  were  they  such  fools  as  to  say,  There  is  no 
God;  but  they  followed  other  gods:  so  much  re¬ 
mained  of  pure  nature  as  to  own  a  God,  yet  so  much 
appeared  of  corrupt  nature  as  to  multiply  gods,  and 
to  take  up  with  any,  and  to  follow  the  fashion,  not 
the  rule,  in  religious  worship.  Israel  had  the  ho¬ 
nour  of  being  a  peculiar  people,  and  dignified  above  j 
all  others,  and  yet  so  false  were  they  to  their  own 
privileges,  that  they  were  fond  of  the  gods  of  the 
people  that  were  round  about  them.  Baal  and  Ash- 
taroth,  he-gods  and  she-gods;  they  made  their  court 
to  sun,  and  moon,  Jupiter  and  Juno.  Baalim  signifies 
lords,  and  Ashtaroth,  blessed  ones,  both  plural,  for 
when  they  forsook  Jehovah,  who  is  one,  they  had  gods 
many,  and  lords  manv,  as  a  luxuriant  fancy  pleased 
to  multiply  them.  Whatever  they  took  for  their 
gods,  they  served  them,  and  bowed  down  to  them, 
gave  honour  to  them,  and  begged  favours  from  | 
them. 

II.  The  God  of  Israel  was  hereby  provoked  to  j 
anger,  and  delivered  them  up. into  the  hand  of  their 
enemies,  v.  14,  15.  He  was  wrath  with  them,  for 
he  is  a  jealous  God,  and  true  to  the  honour  of  his 
own  name;  and  the  way  he  took  to  punish  them  for 
their  apostasy,  was,  to  make  those  their  tormentors 
whom  they  yielded  to  as  their  tempters.  They 
made  themselves  as  mean  and  miserable  by  forsak¬ 
ing  God,  as  they  would  have  been  great  and  happy 
if  they  had  continued  faithful  to  him.  1.  The  scale 
of  victory  turned  against  them.  After  they  forsook 
God,  whenever  they  took  the  sword  in  hand,  they 
were  as  sure  to  be  beaten  as  before  they  had  been 
sure  to  conquer.  Formerly,  their  enemies  could 
not  stand  before  them,  but  wherever  they  went,  the 
hand  of  the  Lord  was  for  them;  when  they  began 
to  cool  in  their  religion,  God  suspended  his  favour, 
stopped  the  progress  of  their  successors,  and  would 
not  drive  out  their  enemies  any  more,  ( v .  3.)  only 
suffered  them  to  keep  their  ground:  but  now,  when 
they  were  quite  revolted  to  idolatry,  the  war  turn-  ! 
ed  directly  against  them,  and  they  could  not  any  \ 
longer  stand  before  their  enemies.  God  would  rather  | 
give  the  success  to  those  that  had  never  known  nor 
owned  him.  Wherever  they  went,  they  might  per¬ 
ceive  that  God  himself  was  turned  to  be  their  ene¬ 
my,  ax\<S.  fought  against  them,  Isa.  63.  10.  2.  The 

balance  of  power  then  turned  against  them  of 
course.  Whoever  would,  might  spoil  them;  who¬ 
ever  would,  might  oppress  them;  God  sold  them 
into  the  hands  of  their  enemies;  not  only  he  deliver¬ 
ed  them  up  freely,  as  we  do  that  which  we  have 
sold,  but  he  did  it  upon  a  valuable  consideration,  ; 


that  he  might  get  himself  honour  as  a  jealous  God, 
who  would  not  spare  even  his  own  peculiar  people 
when  they  provoked  him.  He  sold  them  as  insol¬ 
vent  debtors  are  sold,  (Matth.  18.  25.)  by  their  suf¬ 
ferings  to  make  some  sort  of  reparation  to  his  glory 
for  the  injury  it  sustained  by  their  apostasy.  Ob¬ 
serve  how  their  punishment,  (1.)  Answered  what 
they  had  done;  they  served  the  gods  of  the  nations 
that  were  round  about  them,  even  the  meanest,  and 
God  made  them  serve  the  princes  of  the  nations 
that  were  round  about  them,  even  the  meanest. 
He  that  is  company  for  every  fool,  is  justly  made  a 
fool  of  by  every  company.  (2. )  How  it  answered 
what  God  had  s/ioken.  The  hand  of  heaven  was 
thus  turned  against  them,  as  the  Lord  had  said,  and 
as  the  Lord  had  sworn;  (y.  15. )  i  eferring  to  the 
curse  and  death  set  before  them  in  the  covenant, 
with  the  blessing  and  life.  Those  that  have  found 
God  true  to  his  promises,  may  from  thence  infer  that 
he  will  be  as  true  to  his  threatenings. 

III.  The  God  of  infinite  mercy  took  pity  on  them, 
in  their  distresses,  though  they  had  brought  them¬ 
selves  into  them  by  their  own  sin  and  folly,  and 
wrought  deliverance  for  them.  Nevertheless, 
though  their  trouble  was  the  punishment  of  their 
sin,  and  the  accomplishment  of  God’s  word,  yet 
they  were  in  process  of  time  saved  out  of  their 
troubles,  v.  16*  *18.  Where  observe,  1.  The  in¬ 
ducement  of  their  deliverance.  It  came  purely  from 
God’s  pity  and  tender  compassion,  the  reason  was 
fetched  from  within  himself.  It  is  not  said,  It  re¬ 
pented  them  because  of  their  iniquities,  (for  it 
appears,  v.  17.  that  many  of  them  continued  unre¬ 
formed,)  but,  It  repented  the  Lord  because  of  their 
groanings;  though  it  is  not  so  much  the  burthen  of 
sin,  as  tne  burthen  of  affliction,  that  they  are  said  to 
groan  under.  It  was  true,  they  deserved  to  perish 
for  ever  under  his  curse,  yet  this  being  the  day  of 
his  patience  and  our  probation,  he  does  not  stir  up 
all  his  wrath.  He  might  in  justice  have  abandoned 
them,  but  he  could  not  for  pity  do  it.  2.  The  in¬ 
struments  of  their  deliverance;  God  did  not  send 
angels  from  heaven  to  do  it,  or  bring  in  any  foreign 
power  for  their  rescue,  but  raised  up  judges  from 
among  themselves,  as  there  was  occasion,  men  to 
whom  God  gave  extraordinary  qualifications  for, 
and  calls  to,  that  special  service  for  which  they 
were  designed,  which  was  to  reform  and  deliver  Is¬ 
rael,  and  whose  great  attempts  he  crowned  with 
wonderful  success;  the  Lord  was  with  the  judges 
when  he  raised  them  up,  and  so  they  became 
saviours.  Observe,  (1.)  Iii  the  days  of  the  greatest 
degeneracy  and  distress  of  the  church,  there  shall 
be  some  whom  God  will  either  find  or  make  fit  tc 
redress  its  grievances,  and  set  things  to  rights. 
(2. )  God  must  be  acknowledged  in  the  seasonable 
rising  up  of  useful  men  for  public  service.  He  en¬ 
dues  men  with  wisdom  and  courage,  gives  them 
hearts  to  act  and  venture.  All  that  are  in  any  way 
the  blessings  of  their  country,  must  be  looked  upon 
as  the  gifts  of  God.  (3.)  Whom  God  calls,  he  will 
own,  and  give  them  his  presence;  whom  he  raises 
up,  lie  wiil  be  with.  (4. )  The  judges  of  a  land  are 
its  saviours. 

IV.  The  degenerate  Israelites  were  not  effectu¬ 
ally  and  thoroughly  reformed,  no  not  by  their 
judges,  v.  17--19.  i.  Even  while  their  judges  were 
with  them,  and  active  in  the  work  of  reformation, 
there  were  those  that  would  not  hearken  to  their 
judges,  but  at  that  very  time  went  a  whoring  after 
other  gods;  so  mad  were  they  ujJbn  their  idols,  and 
so  obstinately  bent  to  backslide.  They  had  been  es¬ 
poused  to  God,  but  broke  the  marriage-covenant, 
and  went  a  whoring  after  false  gods.  Idolatry  is 
spiritual  adultery;  so  vile  and  base  and  perfidious  a 
thing  is  it,  and  so  hardly  are  those  reclaimed,  that 
are  addicted  to  it.  2.  Those  that  in  the  times  of  refor- 


Ill 


JUDGES,  III. 


mation  began  to  amend,  yet  turned  quickly  out  of 
the  way  again,  and  became  as  bad  as  ever.  The 
way  they  turned  out  of,  was  that  which  their  godly 
ancestors  walked  in,  and  set  them  out  in;  but  they 
soon  started  from  under  the  influence  both  of  their 
fathers’  good  example,  and  of  their  own  good  edu¬ 
cation.  The  wicked  children  of  godly  parents  do 
so,  and  will  therefore  have  a  great  deal  to  answer 
for.  3.  However,  "alien  the  judge  was  dead,  they 
looked  upon  the  dam  which  checked  the  stream  of 
their  idolatry  as  removed,  and  then  it  flowed  down 
again. with  so  much  the  more  fury,  and  the  next 
age  seemed  to  be  rather  the  worse  for  the  attempts 
that  were  made  toward  reformation;  ( v .  19.)  They 
corrupted  themselves  more  than  their  fathers;  strove 
to  outdo  them  in  multiplying  strange  gods,  and  in- 
\  enting  profane  and  impious  rites  of  worship,  as  it 
were  in  contradiction  to  their  reformers.  They 
ceased  not  from,  or,  as  the  word  is,  they  would  not 
let  fall,  any  of  their  own  doings;  grew  not  ashamed 
of  those  idolatrous  services  that  were  most  odious, 
nor  weary  of  those  that  were  most  barbarous;  would 
not  so  much  as  diminish  one  step  of  their  hard  and 
stubborn  way.  Thus  they  that  have  forsaken  the 
good  ways  of  God,  which  they  have  once  known 
and  professed,  commonly  grow  most  daring  and 
desperate  in  sin,  and  have  their  hearts  most  har¬ 
dened. 

V.  God’s  just  resolution  hereupon  was,  still  to 
continue  the  rod  over  them.  1.  Their  sin  was, 
sparing  the  Canaanites;  and  this,  in  contempt  and 
violation  of  the  covenant  God  had  made  with  them, 
and  the  commands  he  had  given  them,  v.  20.  2.  1 

Their  punishment  was,  that  the  Canaanites  were 
spared,  and  so  they  were  beaten  with  their  own  rod. 
They  were  not  all  delivered  into  the  hand  of  Joshua 
while  he  lived,  v.  23.  Our  Lord  Jesus,  though  he 
spoiled  principalities  and  powers,  yet  did  not  com¬ 
plete  his  victory  at  first;  we  see  not  yet  all  things  ; 
put  under  him;  here  are  remains  of  Satan’s  interest 
in  the  church,  as  theye  were  of  the  Canaanites  in  j 
the  land;  but  yet  Joshua  lives  for  ever,  and  will  in 
the  great  day  perfect  his  conquests.  After  Joshua’s  i 
death,  little  was  done  for  a  long  time  against  the 
Canaanites:  Israel  indulged  them,  and  grew  familiar 
with  them,  and  therefore  God  would  not  drive  them 
out  any  more,  v.  21.  If  they  will  have  such  inmates 
as  these  among  them,  let  them  take  them,  and  see 
what  will  come  of  it.  God  chose  their  delusions, 
Isa.  66.  4.  Thus  men  cherish  and  indulge  their 
own  corrupt  appetites  and  passions,  and,  instead  of 
mortifying  them,  make  provision  for  them,  and 
therefore  God  justly  leaves  them  to  themselves  un¬ 
der  the  power  of  their  sins,  which  will  be  their 
ruin:  So  shall  their  doom  be,  themselves  have  decid¬ 
ed  it.  These  remnants  of  the  Canaanites  were  left 
to  prove  Israel,  (v.  22.)  whether  they  will  keep  the 
way  of  the  Lord  or  not;  not  that  God  might  know  i 
them,  but  that  they  might  know  themselves.  It  ; 
was  to  try,  (1.)  Whether  they  could  resist  the 
temptations  to  idolatry  which  the  Canaanites  would 
lay  before  them.  God  had  told  them  they  could 
not,  (Deut.  7.  4.)  but  they  thought  they  could;  : 
“Well,”  said  God,  “I  will  try  you;”  and,  upon 
trial,  it  was  found  that  the  tempter’s  charms  were 
quite  too  strong  for  them.  God  has  told  us  how 
deceitful  and  desperately  wicked  our  hearts  are, 
but  we  are  not  willing  to  believe  it,  until,  by  making 
bold  with  temptation,  we  find  it  too  true  by  sad  ex¬ 
perience.  (2.)  Whether  they  would  make  a  good 
ase  of  the  vexations  which  the  remaining  natives 
would  give  them,  and  the  many  troubles  they  would 
occasion  them,  and  would  thereby  be  convinced  of 
sin  and  humbled  for  it,  reformed,  and  driven  to  God 
and  their  duty;  whether  by  continual  alarms  from 
them  they  would  be  kept  in  awe,  and  made  afraid  I 
of  provoking  God. 


CHAP.  III. 

In  this  chapter,  I.  A  general  account  of  Israel’s  enemies 
is  premised,  and  of  the  mischief  they  did  them,  v.  1 .  .7 
II.  A  particular  account  of  the  brave  exploits  done  by 
the  three  first  of  the  judges.  1.  Othniel,  whom  Cod 
raised  up  to  fight  Israel’s  battles,  and  plead  their  cause 
against  the  king  of  Mesopotamia,  v.  8.  .  II.  2.  Ehud, 
who  was  employed  in  rescuing  Israel  out  of  the  hands  ot 
the  Moabites,  and  did  it  by  stabbing  the  king  of  Moab, 
v.  12- -30.  3.  Shamgar,  who  signalized  himself  in  an 

encounter  with  the  Philistines,  v.  31. 

1.  "VTOW  these  are  the  nations  which  the 
Lord  left,  to  prove  Israel  by  them  , 
(even  as  many  of  Israel  as  had  not  known 
all  the  wars  of  Canaan  ;  2.  Only  that  the 

generations  of  the  children  of  Israel  might 
know  to  teach  them  war,  at  the  least  such 
as  before  knew  nothing  thereof;)  3.  Namely , 
five  lords  of  the  Philistines,  and  all  the  Ca¬ 
naanites,  and  the  Sidonians,  and  the  Hivites 
that  dwelt  in  mount  Lebanon,  from  mount 
Baal-hermon  unto  the  entering  in  of  Ha¬ 
math.  4.  And  they  were  to  prove  Israel  by 
them,  to  know  whether  they  would  hearken 
unto  the  commandments  of  the  Lord,  which 
he  commanded  their  fathers  by  the  hand  of 
Moses.  5.  And  the  children  of  Israel  dwelt 
among  the  Canaanites,  Hittites,  and  Amo- 
rites,  and  Perizzites,  and  Hivites,  and  Jebu- 
sites :  6.  And  they  took  their  daughters  to 

be  their  wives,,  and  gave  their  daughters  to 
their  sons,  and  served  their  gods.  7.  And 
the  children  ol  Israel  did  evil  in  the  sight  of 
the  Lord,  and  forgat  the  Lord  their  God, 
and  served  Baalim  and  the  groves. 

We  are  here  told  what  remained  of  the  old  inha¬ 
bitants  of  Canaan.  1.  There  were  some  of  them 
that  kept  together  in  united  bodies,  unbroken;  (v. 
3.)  The  five  lords  of  the  Philistines,  namely,  Ash- 
dod,  Gaza,  Askelon,  Gath,  and  Ekron,  1  Sam.  6. 
17.  Three  of  these  cities  had  been  in  part  reduced, 
(ch.  1.  18.)  but,  it  seems,  the  Philistines  (probably 
with  the  help  of  the  other  two,  which  strengthened 
I  their  confederacy  with  each  other  from  thencefor¬ 
ward)  recovered  the  possession  of  them.  These 
gave  the  greatest  disturbance  to  Israel  of  any  of  the 
j  natives,  especially  in  the  latter  times  of  the  Judges, 
and  they  were  never  quite  reduced  until  David  did 
I  it.  There  was  a  particular  nation  called  Canaan- 
!  ites,  that  kept  their  ground  with  the  Sidonians,  upon 
|  the  coast  of  the  great  sea.  And  in  the  north  the 
Hivites  held  much  of  mount  Lebanon,  it  being  a  re¬ 
mote  corner,  in  which  perhaps  they  were  supported 
by  some  of  the  neighbouring  states.  But  beside 
:  these,  2.  There  were  every  where  in  all  parts  of 
J  the  country  some  scatterings  of  the  nations;  (i>.  5.) 
Hittites,  Amorites,  &c.  which,  by  Israel’s  foolish 
connivance  and  indulgence,  were  so  many,  so  easy, 
and  so  insolent,  that  the  children  of  Israel  are  said 
to  dwell  among  them,  as  if  the  right  had  still  re¬ 
mained  in  the  Canaanites,  and  the  Israelites  had 
been  taken  in  by  their  permission,  and  only  as  te¬ 
nants  at  will. 

Now  concerning  these  remnants  of  the  natives, 
observe, 

I.  How  wisely  God  permitted  them  to  remain. 
It  had  been  mentioned  in  the  close  of  the  foregoing 
I  chapter,  as  an  act  of  God’s  justice,  that  he  let  them 
remain  for  Israel’s  correction.  But  here  anothei 


112 


construction  is  put  upon  it,  and  it  appears  to  have 
been  an  act  of  God’s  wisdom,  that  he  let  them  re¬ 
main  for  Israel’s  real  advantage,  that  those  who 
had.  not  known  the  wars  of  Canaan,  might  learn 
war,  v.  1,  2.  It  was  the  will  of  God  that  the  peo¬ 
ple  of  Israel  should  be  inured  to  war,  1.  Because 
their  country  was  exceeding  rich  and  fruitful,  and 
abounded  with  dainties  of  all  sorts,  which,  if  they 
were  not  sometimes  made  to  know  hardship,  would 
be  in  danger  of  sinking  them  into  the  utmost  degree 
of  luxury  and  effeminacy.  They  must  sometimes 
wade  in  blood,  and  not  always  in  milk  and  honey, 
lest  even  their  men  of  war,  by  the  long  disuse  of 
arms,  should  become  as  soft  and  nice  as  the  tender 
and  delicate  woman,  that  would  not  set  so  much  as 
the  sole  of  her  foot  to  the  ground  for  tenderness  and 
delicacy;  a  temper  as  destructive  to  every  thing 
that  is  good,  as  it  is  to  every  thing  that  is  great,  and 
therefore  to  be  carefully  watched  against  by  all 
God’s  Israel.  2.  Because  their  country  lay  very 
much  in  the  midst  of  enemies,  by  whom  they  must 
expect  to  be  insulted;  for  God’s  heritage  was  as  a 
sfieckled  bird,  the  birds  round  about  were  against 
her,  Jer.  12.  9.  It  was  therefore  necessary  they 
should  be  well  disciplined,  that  they  might  defend 
their  coasts  when  invaded,  and  might  hereafter 
enlarge  their  coast  as  God  had  promised  them. 
The  art  of  war  is  best  learned  by  experience, 
which  not  only  acquaints  men  with  martial  disci¬ 
pline,  but  (which  is  no  less  necessary)  inspires 
them  with  a  martial  disposition.  It  was  for  the  in¬ 
terest  of  Israel  to  breed  soldiers,  as  it  is  the  interest 
of  an  island  to  breed  seamen,  and  therefore  God  left 
Canaanites  among  them,  that,  by  the  lesser  difficul¬ 
ties  and  hardships  they  met  with  in  encountering 
them,  they  might  be  prepared  for  greater;  and,  by 
running  with  the  footmen,  might  learn  to  contend  with 
horses,  Jer.  12.  5.  Israel  was  a  figure  of  the  church 
militant,  that  must  fight  its  way  to  a  triumphant 
state.  The  soldiers  of  Christ  must  endure  hardness, 
2.  Tim.  2,  3.  Corruption  is  therefore  left  remain¬ 
ing  in  the  hearts  even  of  good  Christians,  that  they 
may  learn  war,  may  keep  on  the  whole  armour  of 
God,  and  stand  continually  upon  their  guard.  The 
learned  Bishop  Patrick  offers  another  sense  of  v. 
2,  that  they  might  know  to  teach  them  war,  that  is, 
they  shall  know  what  it  is  to  be  left  to  themselves. 
Their  fathers  fought  by  a  divine  power,  God 
taught  their  hands  to  war  and  their  fingers  to  fight; 
but  now  that  they  have  forfeited  his  favour,  let 
them  learn  what  it  is  to  fight  like  other  men. 

II.  How  wickedly  Israel  mingled  themselves 
with  those  that  did  remain.  One  thing  God  intend¬ 
ed  in  leaving  them  among  them,  was  to  prove  Is¬ 
rael,  (y.  4.)  that  those  who  were  faithful  to  the  God 
of  Israel,  might  have  the  honour  of  resisting  the 
Canaanites’  allurements  to  idolatry,  and  that  those 
who  were  false  and  insincere,  might  be  discovered, 
and  might  fall  under  the  shame  of  yielding  to  those 
allurements.  Thus  in  the  Christian  churches  there 
must  needs  be  heresies,  that  they  which  are  fierfect 
may  be  made  manifest,  1  Cor.  11.  19.  Israel,  up¬ 
on  trial,  proved  bad.  1.  They  joined  in  marriage 
with  the  Canaanites,  ( v .  6.*)  .though  they  could  not 
advance  either  their  honour  or  estate  by  marrying 
with  them.  They  would  mar  their  blood  instead 
f  f  mending  it,  and  sink  their  estates  instead  of  rais¬ 
ing  them,  by  such  marriages.  2.  Thus  they  were 
brought  to  join  in  worship  with  them;  they  served 
their  gods,  (~v.  6. )  Baalim  and  the  groves;  (v.  7. ) 
that  is,  the  images  that  were  worshipped  in  groves 
of  thick  trees,  which  were  a  sort  of  natural  temples. 
In  such  unequal  matches  there  is  more  reason  to 
fear  that  the  bad  will  corrupt  the  good,  than  to 
hope  that  the  good  will  reform  the  bad;  as  it  is 
in  laying  two  pears  together,  the  one  rotten,  and 
the  other  sound.  When  they  inclined  to  worship 


S,  III. 

other  gods,  they  forgat  the  Lord  their  God.  In 
complaisance  to  their  new  relations,  they  talked  of 
nothing  but  Baalim  and  the  groves;  so  that  by  de¬ 
grees  they  lost  the  remembrance  of  the  true  God, 
and  forgot  there  was  such  a  Being,  and  what  obli¬ 
gations  they  lay  under  to  him.  In  nothing  is  the 
corrupt  memory  of  man  more  treacherous  than  in 
this,  that  it  is  apt  to  forget  God;  because  out  of 
sight,  he  is  out  of  mind;  and  here  begins  all  the 
wickedness  that  is  in  the  world;  they  have  per¬ 
verted  their  way,  for  thev  have  forgotten  the  Lora 
their  God. 

8.  Therefore  the  anger  of  the  Lord  was 
hot  against  Israel,  and  he  sold  them  into 
the  hand  of  Chushan-rishathaim  king  of 
Mesopotamia :  and  the  children  of  Israel 
served  Chushan-rishathaim  eight  years.  9. 
And  when  the  children  of  Israel  cried  unto 
the  Lord,  the  Lord  raised  up  a  deliverer 
to  the  children  of  Israel,  who  delivered 
them,  even  Othniel  the  son  of  Kenaz,  Ca¬ 
leb’s  younger  brother.  10.  And  the  Spirit 
of  the  Lord  came  upon  him,  and  he  judg¬ 
ed  Israel,  and  went  out  to  war :  and  the 
Lord  delivered  Chushan-rishathaim  king  of 
Mesopotamia  into  his  hand ;  and  his  hand 
prevailed  against  Chushan-rishathaim.  1 1. 
And  the  land  had  rest  forty  years :  and 
Othniel  the  son  of  Kenaz  died. 

We  now  come  to  the  records  of  the  government 
of  the  particular  judges,  the  first  of  which  was  Oth¬ 
niel,  in  whom  the  story  of  this  book  is  knit  to  that 
of  Joshua,  for  even  in  Joshua’s  time,  Othniel  began 
to  be  famous;  by  which  it  appears  that  it  was  not 
long  after  Israel’s  settlement  in  Canaan,  before 
their  purity  began  to  be  corrupted,  and  their  peace 
(by  consequence)  disturbed.  And  those  who  have 
taken  pains  to  inquire  into  the  sacred  chronology, 
are  generally  agreed,  that  the  Danites’  idolatry,  and 
the  war  with  the  Benjamites  for  abusing  the  Le- 
vite’s  concubine,  though  related  in  the  latter  end  of 
this  book,  happened  about  this  time,  under  or  be¬ 
fore  Othniel’s  government,  who,  though  a  judge, 
was  not  such  a  king  in  Israel,  as  would  keep  men 
from  doing  what  was  right  in  their  own  eyes. 

In  this  short  narrative  of  Othniel’s  government, 
we  have, 

I.  The  distress  that  Israel  was  brought  into  for 
their  sin,  v.  8.  God,  being  justly  displeased  with 
them  for  plucking  up  the  hedge  of  their  peculiari¬ 
ty,  and  laying  themselves  in  common  with  the  na¬ 
tions,  plucked  up  the  hedge  of  their  protection,  and 
laid  them  open  to  the  nations;  set  them  to  sale  as 
goods  he  would  part  with,  and  the  first  that  laid 
hands  on  them  was  Chushan-rishathaim,  king  of 
that  Syria  which  lay  between  the  two  great  rivers 
of  Tigris  and  Euphrates,  thence  called  Mesopota¬ 
mia-,  which  signifies  the  midst  of  rruers.  It  is  prob¬ 
able  that  this  was  a  warlike  prince,  and,  aiming  to 
enlarge  his  dominions,  invaded  the  two  tribes  first 
on  the  other  side  Jordan  that  lay  next  him,  and  af¬ 
terward,  perhaps  by  degrees,  penetrated  in  the 
heart  of  the  country,  and,  as  far  as  he  went,  put 
them  under  contribution,  exacting  it  with  rigour, 
and  perhaps  quartering  soldiers  upon  them.  Laban 
was  of  this  country,  who  oppressed  Jacob  with  a 
hard  service;  but  it  lay  at  such  a  distance,  that  one 
could  not  have  thought  Israel’s  trouble  should  have 
come  from  such  a  far  conn  tty,  which  shows  so  much 
the  more  of  the  hand  of  God  in  it. 


113 


JUDGES,  III. 


IT.  Their  return  to  God  in  this  distress.  When  he 
slew  them,  then  they  sought  him  whom  before  they 
had  slighted.  The  children  of  Israel,  even  the  ge¬ 
nerality  of  them,  cried  unto  the  Lord,  v.  9.  At 
first,  they  made  light  of  their  trouble,  and  thought 
they  could  easily  shake  off  the  yoke  of  a  prince  at 
such  a  distance;  but  when  it  continued  eight  years, 
they  began  to  feel  the  smart  of  it,  and  then  they 
cried  under  it,  who  before  had  laughed  at  it.  They 
who  in  the  day  of  their  mirth  had  cried  to  Baalim 
and  Ashtaroth,  now  that  they  are  in  trouble,  cry  to 
the  Lord  from  whom  they  had  revolted,  whose 
justice  brought  them  into  this  trouble,  and  whose 
power  and  favour  alone  could  help  them  out  of  it. 
Affliction  makes  those  cry  to  God  with  importu¬ 
nity,  who  before  would  scarcely  speak  to  him. 

III.  God’s  return  in  mercy  to  them  for  their  deliv¬ 
erance.  Though  need  drove  them  to  him,  he  did  not 
the  efore  reject  their  prayers,  but  graciously  raised 
up  a  deliverer,  or  saviour,  as  the  word  is.  Observe, 
1.  Who  the  deliverer  was;  it  was  Othniel,  who  mar¬ 
ried  Caleb’s  daughter;  one  of  the  old  stock  that 
had  seen  the  works  of  the  Lord,  and  had  himself,  no 
question,  kept  his  integrity,  and  secretly  lamented 
the  apostasy  of  his  people,  but  waited  for  a  divine 
call  to  appear  publicly  for  the  redress  of  their 
grievances.  He  was  now,  we  may  suppose,  far  ad¬ 
vanced  in  years,  when  God  raised  him  up  to  this 
honour;  but  the  decays  of  age  were  no  hinderance 
to  his  usefulness,  when  God  had  work  for  him  to 
do.  2.  Whence  he  had  his  commission,  not  of 
man,  or  by  man;  but  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  came 
upon  him,  v.  10.  The  spirit  of  wisdom  and  cou¬ 
rage  to  qualify  him  for  the  sen  ice,  and  a  spirit  of 
power  to  excite  him  to  it,  so  as  to  give  him  and 
others  full  satisfaction  that  it  was  the  will  of  God  he 
should  engage  in  it,  the  Chaldee  says,  The  spirit 
of  prophecy  remained  on  him.  3.  What  method 
he  took;  he  first  judged  Israel,  reproved  them, 
called  them  to  an  account  for  their  sins,  and  reform¬ 
ed  them,  and  then  went  out  to  war;  that  was  the 
light  method.  Let  sin  at  home  be  conquered,  that 
worst  of  enemies,  and  then  enemies  abroad  will  be 
more  easily  dealt  with.  Thus  let  Christ  be  our 
Judge  and  Law-giver,  and  then  he  will  save  us,  and 
on  no  other  terms,  Isa.  33.  22.  4.  What  good  suc¬ 

cess  he  had.  He  prevailed  to  break  the  yoke  of 
the  oppression,  and,  as  it  should  seem,  to  break  the 
neck  of  the  oppressor;  for  it  is  said,  The  Lord  de¬ 
livered  Chushan-rishathaim  into  his  hand.  Now  was 
Judah,  of  which  tribe  Othniel  was,  as  a  lion's  whelp 
gone  up  from  the  prey.  5.  The  happy  conse¬ 
quence  of  Othniel’s  good  services.  The  land,  though 
not  getting  ground,  yet  had  rest,  and  some  fruits  of 
the  reformation,  forty  years;  and  it  had  been  per¬ 
petual,  if  they  had  kept  close  to  God  and  their  duty. 

1 2.  And  the  children  of  Israel  did  evil 
again  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord  :  and  the 
Lord  strengthened  Eglon  the  king  ofMoab 
against  Israel,  because  they  had  done  evil  in 
the  sight  of  the  Lord.  1 3.  And  he  gather¬ 
ed  unto  him  the  children  of  Ammon  and 
Amalek,  and  went  and  smote  Israel,  and 
possessed  the  city  of  palm-trees.  14.  So 
the  children  of  Israel  served  Eglon  the  king 
of  Moab  eighteen  years.  15.  But  when 
the  children  of  Israel  cried  unto  the  Lord, 
the  Lord  raised  them  up  a  deliverer,  Ehud 
the  son  of  Gera,  a  Benjamite,  a  man  left- 
nanded :  and  by  him  the  children  of  Israel 
sent  a  present  unto  Eglon  the  king  of  Moab. 

1 6.  But  Ehud  made  him  a  dagger,  which 
VOL.  II.  -P 


had  two  edges,  of  a  cubit  length ;  and  he 
did  gird  it  under  his  raiment  upon  his  right 
thigh.  17.  And  he  brought  the  present 
unto  Eglon  king  of  Moab  ;  and  Eglon  wan 
a  very  lat  man.  18.  And  when  he  had 
made  an  end  to  offer  the  present,  he  sent 
away  the  people  that  bare  the  present.  19 
But  lie  himself  turned  again  from  the 
quarries  that  were  by  Gilgal,  and  said,  1 
have  a  secret  errand  unto  thee,  O  king : 
who  said,  Keep  silence.  And  all  that  stood 
by  him  went  out  from  him.  20.  And  Ehud 
came  unto  him ;  and  he  was  sitting  in  a 
summer  parlour,  which  he  had  for  himself, 
alone  :  and  Ehud  said,  I  have  a  message 
from  God  unto  thee.  And  he  arose  out  of 
his  seat.  2 1 .  And  Ehud  put  forth  his  left 
hand,  and  took  the  dagger  from  his  right 
thigh,  and  thrust  it  into  his  belly.  22.  And 
the  haft  also  went  in  after  the  blade ;  and 
the  fat  closed  upon  the  blade,  so  that 
he  could  not  draw  the  dagger  out  of  his 
belly;  and  the  dirt  came  out.  23.  Then 
Ehud  went  forth  through  the  porch,  and 
shut  the  doors  of  the  parlour  upon  him,  and 
locked  them.  24.  When  he  was  gone  out, 
his  servants  came ;  and  when  they  saw 
that,  behold,  the  doors  of  the  parlour  were 
locked,  they  said,  Surely  he  covereth  his 
feet  in  his  summer  chamber.  25.  And  they 
tarried  till  they  were  ashamed  ;  and,  be¬ 
hold,  he  opened  not  the  doors  of  the  par¬ 
lour  :  therefore  they  took  a  key  and  opened 
them:  and,  behold,  their  lord  was  fallens 
down  dead  on  the  earth.  26.  And  Ehud 
escaped  while  they  tarried,  and  passed  be¬ 
yond  the  quarries,  and  escaped  unto  Sei- 
rath.  27.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  he 
was  come,  that  he  blew  a  trumpet  in  the 
mountain  of  Ephraim,  and  the  children  of 
Israel  wTent  down  with  him  from  the  mount, 
and  he  before  them.  28.  And  he  said  unto 
them,  Follow  after  me ;  for  the  Lord  hath 
delivered  your  enemies  the  Moabites  into 
your  hand.  And  they  went  down  after 
him,  and  took  the  fords  of  Jordan  toward 
Moab,  and  suffered  not  a  man  to  pass  over. 
29.  And  they  slew  of  Moab  at  that  time 
about  ten  thousand  men,  all  lusty,  and  all 
men  of  valour;  and  there  escaped  not  a 
man.  30.  So  Moab  was  subdued  that  day 
under  the  hand  of  Israel.  And  the  land 
had  rest  fourscore  years. 

Ehud  is  the  next  of  the  judges  whose  achieve¬ 
ments  are  related  in  this  history,  and  here  is  an  ac¬ 
count  of  his  actions. 

I.  When  Israel  sins  again,  God  raises  up  a  new 
oppressor,  v.  12 .  .  14.  It  was  an  aggravation  of 
their  wickedness,  that  they  did  evil  again,  after 
they  had  smarted  so  long  for  their  former  iniqui¬ 
ties,  promised  so  fair  when  Othniel  judged  them, 


114 


JUDGES,  III. 


and  received  so  much  mercy  from  God  in  their  de-  ! 
liverance.  What,  and  after  all  this,  again  to  break 
his  commandments!  Was  the  disease  obstinate  to 
all  the  methods  of  cure,  both  corrosives  and  leni¬ 
tives?  It  seems  it  was.  Perhaps  they  thought 
they  might  make  the  more  bold  with  their  own 
sins,  because  they  saw  themselves  in  no  danger 
erom  their  old  oppressor,  the  powers  of  that  king¬ 
dom  were  weakened  and  brought  low;  but  God 
made  them  know  that  he  had  a  variety  of  rods 
wherewith  to  chastise  them,  he  strengthened  Eglon 
king  of  Moab  against  them.  This  oppressor  lay 
nearer  them  than  the  former,  and  therefore  would  be 
the  more  mischievous  to  them;  God’s  judgments 
thus  approached  them  gradually,  to  bring  them  to 
repentance.  When  Israel  dwelt  in  tents,  but  kept 
their  integrity,  B  dak,  king  of  Moab,  that  would 
have  strengthened  lrmself  against  them,  was  baf¬ 
fled;  but  now  that  thev  had  forsaken  God,  and 
worshipped  the  gods  of  the  nations  round  about 
them,  (and  perhaps  those  of  the  Moabites  among 
the  rest,)  here  was  another  king  of  Moab  whom 
God  strengthened  against  them,  put  power  into  his 
hands,  though  a  wicked  man,  that  he  might  be  a 
scourge  of  Israel;  the  staff  in  his  hand,  with  which 
he  beat  Israel,  was,  God’s  indignation;  howbeit  he 
meant  not  so,  neither  did  his  heart  think  so,  Isa.  10. 
6,  7.  Israelites  did  ill,  and,  we  may  suppose, 
Moab:tes  did  worse;  yet  because  God  punishes  the 
sins  of  his  own  people  in  this  world,  that,  the  flesh 
being  destroyed,  the  spirit  mav  be  saved,  Israel  is 
weakened,  and  Moab  strengthened  against  them. 
God  would  not  suffer  the  Israelites,  when  they  were 
the  stronger,  to  distress  the  Moabites,  nor  give 
them  any  disturbance  though  they  were  idolaters; 
(Deut.  2.  9. )  yet  now  he  suffered  the  Moabites  to  dis¬ 
tress  Israel,  and  strengthened  them  on  purpose  that 
thev  might:  Thy  judgments,  0  God,  are  a  great 
deefi.  The  king  of  Moab  took  to  his  assistance  the 
Ammonites  and  Amalekites,  ( v .  13.)  and  that 
strengthened  him ;  and  we  are  here  told  how  they 
prevailed. 

1.  They  beat  them  in  the  field,  they  went  and 
smote  Israel,  (v.  13.)  not  only  those  tribes  that  lay 
next  them  on  the  other  side  of  Jordan,  who,  though 
first  settled,  being  frontier-tribes,  were  most  dis¬ 
turbed;  but  those  also  within  Jordan,  for  they  made 
themselves  masters  of  the  city  o  f  halm-trees,  which, 
it  is  probable,  was  a  strong-hold  erected  near  the 
place  where  Jericho  had  stood,  for  tint  was  so  call¬ 
ed.  (Deut.  34.  3.)  into  which  the  Moabites  put  a  , 
garrison,  to  be  a  bridle  upon  Israel,  and  to  secure 
the  passes  of  Jordan,  for  the  preservation  of  the 
communication  with  their  own  country.  It  was 
well  for  the  Kenites  that  thev  had  left  this  city, 
(ch.  1.  16.)  before  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  ene¬ 
my.  See  how  quickly  the  Israelites  lost  that  by 
their  own  sin,  which  they  had  gained  by  miracles 
of  divine  mercy. 

2.  They  made  them  to  serve,  (t>.  14.)  that  is,  ex- 
acted  tribute  from  them,  either  the  fruits  of  the 
earth  in  kind,  or  monev  in  lieu  of  them.  They  ne¬ 
glected  the  service  of  God,  and  did  not  pay  him  his 
tribute;  thus  therefore  did  God  recover  from  them 
that  wine  and  oil,  that  silver  and  gold,  which  they 
prepared  for  Baal,  Hos.  2.  8.  What  should  have 
been  paid  to  the  divine  grace,  and  was  not,  was 
distrained  for,  and  paid  to  the  divine  justice.  The 
former  servitude  (7'.  8.)  lasted  but  eight  years,  this 
eighteen;  for  if  lesser  troubles  do  not  do  the  work, 
God  will  send  greater. 

IT.  When  Israel  prays  again,  God  raises  up  a 
new  deliverer,  (y.  15.)  his  name  Ehud.  We  are 
here  told,  1.  Tt  was  a  Bcnjamite.  The  city  of  palm- 
trees  lav  within  the  lot  of  this  tribe,  by  which,  it 
is  probable,  thev  suffered  the  most,  and  therefore 
stirred  first  to  shake  off  the  yoke.  It  is  supposed  by 


the  chronologer,  that  the  Israelites’  war  with  Ben 
jamin  tor  the  wickedness  of  Gibeah,  by  which  that 
whole  tribe  was  reduced  to  six  hundred  men,  hap¬ 
pened  before  this,  so  that  we  may  well  think  that 
tribe  to  be  now  the  weakest  of  all  the  tribes;  yet  out 
of  it  God  raised  up  this  deliverer,  in  token  of  his 
being  perfectly  reconciled  to  them,  to  manifest  his 
own  power  in  ordaining  strength  out  of  weakness, 
and  that  he  might  bestow  more  abundant  honoui 
ufion  that  fiart  which  lacked ,  1  Cor.  12.  24.  2. 

That  he  was  left-handed,  as  it  seems,  many  of  that 
tribe  were,  ch.  20.  16.  Benjamin  signifies  the  son  of 
the  right  hand,  and  yet  multitudes  of  them  were 
left-handed:  for  men’s  natures  do  not  always  answer 
their  names.  The  LXX.  say,  he  was  an  ambidex¬ 
ter,  one  that  could  use  both  hands  alike,  supposing 
that  that  was  an  advantage  to  him  in  the  action  he 
was  called  to;  but  the  Hebrew  phrase,  that  he  was 
shut  of  his  right  hand,  intimates  that  either  through 
disease  or  disuse,  he  made  little  or  no  use  of  that, 
but  of  his  left  hand  only;  and  so  was  the  less  fit  for 
war,  because  he  must  needs  handle  his  sword  but 
awkwardly;  yet  God  chose  this  left-handed  man  to 
be  the  man  of  his  right  hand,  whom  he  would  make 
strong  for  himself,  Ps.  80.  17.  It  was  God’s  right 
hand  that  gained  Israel  the  victory,  (Ps.  44.  3.)  not 
the  right  of  the  instruments  he  emploved. 

We  are  here  told  what  Ehud  did  for  the  deli¬ 
verance  of  Israel  out  of  the  hands  of  the  Moabites. 
He  saved  the  oppressed  by  destroying  the  oppres¬ 
sors,  when  the  measure  of  their  iniquity  was  full, 
and  the  set  time  to  favour  Israel  was  come. 

(1.)  He  put  to  death  Eglon  the  king  of  Moab;  I 
say,  fiut  him  to  death ;  not  he  murdered  or  assassi¬ 
nated  him,  but,  as  a  judge,  or  minister  of  divine  jus¬ 
tice,  executed  the  judgments  of  God  upon  him,  as 
an  implacable  enemy  to  God  and  Israel.  This  story 
is  particularly  related. 

[1.]  He  had  a  fair  occasion  of  access  to  him;  be¬ 
ing  an  ingenious  active  man,  and  fit  to  stand  befoi-c 
kings,  his  people  chose  him  to  carry  a  present  in 
the  name  of  all  Israel,  over  and  above  their  tribute, 
to  their  great  lord  the  king  of  Moab,  that  they 
might  find  favour  in  his  eyes,  v.  15.  The  present  is 
called  mincha  in  the  original,  which  is  the  word 
used  in  the  law  for  the  offerings  that  were  present¬ 
ed  to  God,  to  obta’n  his  favrur;  these  the  children 
of  Israel  had  not  offered  in  their  season,  to  the  God 
that  loved  them;  and  now,  to  punish  them  for  their 
neglect,  they  are  laid  under  a  necessity  of  bringing 
their  offerings  to  a  heathen  prince  that  hated  them. 
Ehud  went  on  his  errand  to  Eglon,  offered  his  pre¬ 
sent  with  the  usual  ceremony,  and  expressions  of 
dutiful  respect,  the  better  to  colour  what  he  intend¬ 
ed,  and  to  prevent  suspicion. 

[2.]  It  should  seem,  from  the  first,  he  designed 
to  be  the  death  of  him,  God  putting  it  into  his  heart, 
and  letting  him  know'  also  that  the  motion  was  from 
himself,  by  the  Spirit  that  came  upon  him,  the  im¬ 
pulses  of  which  carried  with  them  their  own  evi¬ 
dence,  and  so  gave  him  full  satisfaction  both  as  to 
the  lawfulness  and  the  success  of  this  daring  at¬ 
tempt,  of  both  which  he  would  have  had  reason 
enough  to  doubt.  If  he  be  sure  that  God  bids  him 
do  it,  he  is  sure  both  that  he  may  do  it,  and  that  he 
shall  do  it;  for  a  command  from  God  is  sufficient  to 
bear  us  out,  and  bring  us  off,  both  against  our  con¬ 
science,  and  against  all  the  world.  That  he  com¬ 
passed  and  imagined  the  death  of  this  tyrant,  ap¬ 
pears  by  the  preparation  he  made  of  a  weapon  for 
the  purpose;  a  short  dagger,  but  half  a  yard  long, 
like  a  bayonet,  which  might  easily  be  concealed 
under  his  clothes,  (7;.  10.)  perhaps,  because  none 
were  suffered  to  come  near  the  king  with  their 
swords  by  their  sides.  This  he  wore  on  his  right 
thigh,  that  it  might  be  the  more  ready  to  his  left 
hand,  and  might  be  the  less  suspected. 


JUDGES,  III. 


116 


[3.]  He  contrived  how  to  be  alone  with  him;  I 
which  he  might  the  more  easily  be,  now  that  he 
h  td  not  only  made  himself  known  to  him,  but  in-  | 
gradated  himself  by  the  present,  and  the  compli¬ 
ments,  which,  perhaps,  on  that  occasion,  he  had 
passed  upon  him.  Observe  how  he  laid  his  plot. 
First,  He  concealed  his  design  even  from  his  own 
attendants;  brought  them  part  of  the  way,  and  then 
ordered  them  to  go  forward  towards  home,  while 
he  himself,  as  if  he  had  forgot  something  behind 
him,  went  back  to  the  king  of  Moab’s  court,  v.  18. 
There  needed  but  one  hand  to  do  the  execution; 
h  id  more  been  engaged  they  could  not  so  safely 
have  kept  counsel,  nor  so  easily  have  made  an  es¬ 
cape.  Secondly,  He  returned  from  the  quarries  by 
Gilg  d,  (z\  16.)  from  the  graven  images  (so  it  is  in 
the  margin)  which  were  with  Gilgal;  set  up  perhaps 
by  the  IVf  oabites  with  the  twelve  stones  which  Joshua 
had  set  up  there.  Some  suggest  that  the  sight  of  j 
these  idols  stirred  up  in  him  such  an  indignation 
ag  tinst  the  king  of  Moab,  as  put  him  upon  the  exe¬ 
cution  of  that  design,  which  otherwise  he  had 
thought  to  have  let  fall  for  the  present.  Or,  per¬ 
haps,  he  came  so  far  as  to  these  images,  that  telling 
from  what  place  he  returned,  the  king  of  Moab 
might  be  the  more  apt  to  believe  he  had  a  message 
from  God.  Thirdly,  He  begged  a  private  audience, 
and  obtained  it  in  a  withdrawing  room,  here  called 
a  summer  parlour.  He  told  the  king  he  had  a  se¬ 
cret  errand  to  him,  who,  thereupon,  ordered  all  his 
attendants  to  withdraw,  v.  19.  Whether  he  ex¬ 
pected  to  receive  some  private  instructions  from  an 
oracle,  or  some  private  information  concerning  the 
present  state  of  Israel,  as  if  Ehud  would  betray  his 
country,  it  was  a  very  unwise  thing  for  him  to  be  all 
alone  with  a  stranger,  and  whom  he  had  reason  to 
look  upon  as  an  enemy;  but  those  that  are  marked 
for  ruin,  are  infatuated,  and  their  hearts  hid  from 
understariding;  God  deprives  them  of  discretion. 

[4]  When  he  had  him  alone,  he  soon  despatched 
him.  His  summer  parlour,  where  he  used  to  in¬ 
dulge  himself  in  ease  and  luxury,  was  the  place  of 
his  execution.  First,  Ehud  demands  his  attention 
to  a  message  from  God,  {y.  20. )  and  that  message 
was  a  dagger:  God  sends  to  us  by  the  judgment 
of  his  hand,  as  well  as  by  the  judgment  of  his 
mouth.  Secondly,  Eglon  pays  respect  to  a  mes¬ 
sage  from  God.  Though  a  king;  though  a  heathen 
king;  though  rich  and  powerful;  though  now  tyran¬ 
nizing  over  the  people  of  God;  though  a  fat  un¬ 
wieldy  man,  that  could  not  easily  rise,  nor  stand 
long;  though  in  private,  and  what  he  did  not  under 
observation;  yet,  when  he  expected  to  receive  or¬ 
ders  from  heaven,  he  rose  out  of  his  seat;  whether 
it  was  low  and  easy,  or  whether.it  was  high  and 
stately,  he  quitted  it,  ahd  stood  up  when  God  was 
about  to  speak  to  him,  thereby  owning  God  his  Su¬ 
perior.  This  shames  the  irreverence  of  many  who 
are  called  Christians,  and  yet  when  a  message  from 
God  is  delivered  to  them,  study  to  show,  by  all  the 
marks  of  carefulness,  how  little  they  regard  it. 
Ehud,  in  calling  what  he  had  to  do,  a  message  from 
God,  plainly  avouches  a  divine  commission  for  it; 
and  God’s  inclining  Eglon  to  stand  up  to  it,  did  both 
confirm  the  commission,  and  facilitate  the  execu¬ 
tion.  Thirdly,  The  message  was  delivered,  not  to 
his  ear,  but  immediately,  and  literally,  to  his  heart, 
into  which  the  fatal  knife  was  thrust,  and  was  left 
there,  v.  21,  22.  His  extreme  fatness,  made  him 
unable  to  resist,  or  to  help  himself;  probably,  it  was 
the  effect  of  his  luxury  and  excess;  and  when  the 
fat  closed  ufi  the  blade,  God  would  by  that  circum¬ 
stance  show  how  those  that  pamper  the  body,  do 
but  prepare  for  their  own  misery.  However,  it 
was  an  emblem  of  his  carnal  security  and  senseless¬ 
ness.  His  heart  was  as  fat  as  grease,  and  in  that 
he  thought  himself  enclosed.  See  Ps.  119.  70. — 17. 


II  10.  Eglon  signifies  a  calf  and  he  fell  like  a  fatted 
calf,  by  the  knife,  ah  acceptable  sacrifice  to  divine 
(justice.  Notice  is  taken  of  the  coming  out  of  the 
dirt  or  dung,  that  the  death  of  this  proud  tyrant 
may  appear  the  more  ignominious  and  shameful. 
He  that  had  been  so  very  nice  and  curious  about  his 
own  body,  to  keep  it  easy  and  clean,  shall  now  be 
i  found  wallowing  in  his  own  blood  and  excrements. 
Thus  does  God  pour  contempt  upon  princes.  Now 
this  act  of  Ehud’s,  1.  May  justify  itself,  because  he 
had  special  direction  from  God  to  do  it,  and  it  was 
agreeable  to  the  usual  method,  which,  under  that 
dispensation,  God  took  to  avenge  his  people  of 
their  enemies,  and  to  manifest  to  the  world  his  own 
justice.  But,  2.  It  will  by  no  means  justify  any  now 
in  doing  the  like.  No  such  commissions  are  now 
given,  and  to  pretend  to  them  is  to  blaspheme  God, 
and  make  him  patronise  the  worst  of  villanies. 
Christ  bid  Peter  sheathe  the  sword,  and  we  find  not 
that  he  bid  him  draw  it  again. 

[5.]  Providence  wonderfully  favoured  his  escape, 
when  he  had  done  the  execution.  First,  The  ty¬ 
rant  fell  silently,  without  any  shriek  or  outcry, 
which  might  have  been  overheard  by  his  servants 
at  a  distance.  How  silently  does  he  go  down  to  the 
pit,  choked  up,  it  may  be,  with  his  own  fat,  which 
stifled  his  dying  groans,  though  he  had  made  so 
great  a  noise  in  the  world,  and  had  been  the  terror 
of  the  mighty  in  the  land  of  the  living.  Secondly, 
The  heroic  executioner  of  this  vengeance,  with 
such  a  presence  of  mind,  as  discovered  not  only  no 
consciousness  of  guilt,  but  a  strong  confidence  in  the 
divine  protection,  shut  the  doors  after  him,  took  the 
key  with  him,  and  passed  through  the  guards  with 
such  an  air  of  innocence,  and  boldness,  and  uncon¬ 
cernedness,  as  made  them  not  at  all  to  suspect  his 
having  done  any  thing  amiss.  Thirdly,  The  ser¬ 
vants  that  attended  in  the  antechamber,  coming  to 
the  door  of  the  inner  parlour,  when  Ehud  was 
gone,  to  know  their  master’s  pleasure,  and  finding  it 
locked,  and  all  quiet,  they  concluded  he  was  lain 
down  to  sleep,  and  covered  his  feet  upon  his  couch, 
and  was  gone  to  consult  his  pillow  about  the  mes¬ 
sage  he  had  received,  and  to  dream  upon  it,  ( v .  24 ) 
and  therefore  would  not  offer  to  open  the  door. 
Thus  by  their  care  not  to  disturb  his  sleep,  they 
lost  the  opportunity  of  revenging  his  death.  See 
what  comes  of  men’s  taking  state  too  much,  and 
obliging  those  about  them  to  keep  their  distance; 
some  time  or  other,  it  may  come  against  them  more 
than  they  think  of.  Fourthly,  The  servants  at 
length  opened  the  door,  and  found  their  master  had 
slefit  indeed  his  long  slecfi,  v.  25.  The  horror  of 
this  tragical  spectacle,  and  the  confusion  it  must 
needs  put  them  into,  to  reflect  upon  their  own  in¬ 
consideration  in  not  opening  the  door  sooner,  quite 
put  by  the  thoughts  of  sending  pursuers  after  him 
that  had  done  it,  whom  now  they  despaired  of  over¬ 
taking.  Lastly,  Ehud  by  this  means  made  his 
escape  to  Sierath,  a  thick  wood;  so  some.  v.  26.  It 
is  not  said  any  where  in  this  story,  what  was  the 
place  in  which  Eglon  lived  now;  but  there  being  no 
mention  of  Ehud’s  passing  and  repassing  Jordan,  I 
am  inclined  to  think  that  Eglon  had  left  his  own 
country  of  Moab,  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  and 
made  his  principal  residence  at  this  time  in  the  city 
of  palm-trees,  within  the  land  of  Canaan,  a  richer 
country  than  his  own,  and  that  there  he  was  slain, 
and  then  the  quarries  by  Gilgal  were  not  far  off 
him.  There  where  he  had  settled  himself,  and 
thought  he  had  sufficiently  fortified  himself  to  lord 
it  over  the  people  of  God,  there  he  was  cut  off,  and 
proved  to  be  fed  for  the  slaughter  like  a  lamb  in  a 
larger  place. 

(2.)  Ehud  having  slain  the  king  of  Moab,  gave  a 
total  rout  to  the  forces  of  the  Moabites  that  were 
among  them,  and  so  effectually  shook  off  the  yoke 


JUDGES,  IV. 


of  their  oppression.  [1.]  He  raised  an  army  imme¬ 
diately  in  mount  Ephraim,  at  some  distance  from 
the  head-quarters  of  the  Moabites,  and  headed 
them  himself,  v.  27.  The  trumpet  he  blew  was 
indeed  a  jubilee-trumpet,  proclaiming  liberty,  and 
a  joyful  sound  it  was  to  the  oppressed  Israelites, 
who  for  a  long  time  had  heard  no  other  trumpets 
than  those  of  their  enemies.  [2.]  Like  a  pious 
man,  and  as  one  that  did  all  this  in  faith,  he  took 
encouragement  himself,  and  gave  encouragement  to 
his  soldiers,  from  the  power  of  God  engaged  for 
them;  (v.  28.)  “  Follow  me,  for  the  Lord  hath  de¬ 
livered  your  enemies  into  your  hands;  we  are  sure 
to  have  God  with  us,  and  therefore  may  go  on 
boldly,  and  shall  go  on  triumphantly.”  [3.]  Like 
a  politic  general,  he  first  secured  the  fords  of  Jor¬ 
dan,  set  strong  guards  upon  all  those  passes,  to  cut 
off  communications  between  the  Moabites  that  were 
in  the  land  of  Israel,  (for  upon  them  only  his  design  , 
was,)  and  their  own  country  on  the  other  side  Jor¬ 
dan;  that  if,  upon  the  alarm  given  them,  they  re¬ 
solved  to  fly,  they  might  not  escape  thither,  and  if 
they  resolved  to  fight,  they  might  not  have  assist¬ 
ance  thence.  Thus  he  shut  them  up  in  that  land  as 
their  prison,  in  which  they  were  pleasing  them¬ 
selves  as  their  palace  and  paradise.  [4.]  He  then 
fell  upon  them,  and  put  them  all  to  the  sword,  ten 
thousand  of  them,  which,  it  seems,  was  the  number 
appointed  to  keep  Israel  in  subjection;  (x>.  29.) 
There  escaped  not  a  man  of  them.  And  they  were 
the  best  and  choicest  of  all  the  king  of  Moab’s 
forces;  all  lusty  men  of  bulk  and  stature,  and  not 
only  able  bodied,  but  high  spirited  too,  and  men  of 
valour,  x'.  20.  But  neither  their  strength  nor  their 
courage  stood  them  in  any  stead,  when  the  set  time 
was  come  for  God  to  deliver  them  into  the  hand  of 
Israel.  [5.]  The  consequence  of  this  victory  was, 
that  the  power  of  the  Moabites  was  wholly  broken 
in  the  land  of  Israel;  the  country  was  cleared  of 
these  oppressors,  and  the  land  had  rest  eighty  years, 
v.  30.  We  may  hope  that  there  was  likewise  a  re¬ 
formation  among  them,  and  a  check  given  to  idola¬ 
try,  by  the  influence  of  Ehud,  which  continued  a 
good  part  of  this  time.  It  was  a  great  while  for  the 
land  to  rest,  fourscore  years;  yet  what  is  that  to  the 
saints’  everlasting  rest  in  the  heavenly  Canaan? 

31.  And  after  him  was  Shamgar,  the  son 
of  Anath,  which  slew  of  the  Philistines  six 
hundred  men  with  an  ox-goad  :  and  he  also 
delivered  Israel. 

When  it  was  said  the  land  had  rest  eighty  years, 
some  think  it  is  meant  chiefly  of  that  part  of  the 
land  which  lay  eastward  on  the  banks  of  Jordan, 
which  had  been  oppressed  by  the  Moabites;  but  it 
seems,  by  this  passage  here,  that  the  other  side  of 
the  country  which  lay  south-west,  was  in  that  time 
infested  by  the  Philistines,  against  whom  Shamgar 
made  head. 

1.  It  seems  Israel  needed  deliverance,  for  he  deli¬ 
vered  Israel;  how  great  the  distress  was,  Deborah 
afterward  related  in  her  song,  (c/;.  5,  6.)  that  in  the 
days  of  Shamgar  the  highways  were  unoccupied, 
&c.  That  part  of  the  country  which  lay  next  to 
the  Philistines  was  so  infested  with  plunderers, 
that  the  people  could  not  travel  the  roads  in  safety, 
but  were  in  danger  of  being  set  upon  and  robbed; 
nor  durst  they  dwell  in  the  unguarded  villages,  but 
were  forced  to  take  shelter  in  the  fortified  cities. 

2.  God  raised  him  up  to  deliver  them,  as  it 
should  seem,  while  Ehud  was  yet  living,  but  super¬ 
annuated.  So  inconsiderable  were  the  enemies  for 
number,  that  it  seems  the  killing  of  six  hundred  of 
them  amounted  to  a  deliverance  of  Israel,  and  so 
many  he  slew  with  an  ox-goad,  or,  as  some  read  it, 
a  plough -share.  It  is  probable  that  he  was  himself 


following  the  plough,  when  the  Philistines  made  an 
inroad  upon  the  country  to  ravage  it,  and  God  put 
it  into  his  heart  to  oppose  them :  the  impulse  being 
sudden  and  strong,  and  having  neither  sword  nor 
spear  to  do  execution  with,  he  took  the  instrument 
that  was  next  at  hand,  some  of  the  tools  of  his 
plough,  and  with  that  killed  so  many  hundred  men, 
and  came  off  unhurt.  See  here  (1.)  That  God  can 
make  those  eminently  serviceable  to  his  glory  and 
his  church’s  good,  whose  extraction,  educatk  n,  and 
employment,  are  very  mean  and  obs  ure.  He  that 
has  the  residue  of  the  Spirit,  could,  when  he 
pleased,  make  ploughmen  judges  and  generals,  and 
fishermen  apostles.  (2.)  It  is  no  matter  how  weak 
the  weapon  is,  if  God  direct  and  strengthen  the 
arm.  An  ox-goad,  when  God  pleases,  shall  do 
more  than  Goliath’s  sword.  And  sometimes  he 
chooses  to  work  by  such  unlikely  means,  that  the 
excellency  of  the  power  may  appear  to  be  of  God. 

CHAP.  IV. 

The  method  of  the  history  of  Deborah  and  Barak,  (the  he¬ 
roes  in  this  chapter,)  is  the  same  with  that  before.  Here 
is,  I.  Israel  revolted  from  God,  v.  1.  II.  Israel  oppress¬ 
ed  by  Jabin,  v.  2,  3.  III.  Israel  judged  by  Deborah,  v. 
4,5.  IV.  Israel  rescued  out  of  the  hands  of  Jabin.  1. 
Their  deliverance  is  concerted  between  Deborah  and  Ba¬ 
rak,  v.  6..  9.  2.  It  is  accomplished  by  their  joint  agen¬ 

cy.  Barak  takes  the  field;  (v.  10. )  Sisera,  Jabin’s  gem - 
ral,  meets  him;  (v.  12, 13.)  Deborah  encourages  him,  (v. 
14.)  and  God  gives  him  a  complete  victory.  The  army 
routed,  v.  15,  16.  The  general  forced  to  flee;  (v  17.) 
and  there  where  he  expected  shelter,  had  his  life  stolen 
from  him  by  Jael  while  he  was  asleep,  (v.  18.  .21.)  which 
completes  Barak’s  triumph,  (v.  22.)  and  Israel’s  deliver* 
ance,  v.  23,  24. 

1.  4  ND  the  children  of  Israel  again  did 
evil  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord,  when 
Ehud  was  dead.  2.  And  the  Lord  sold 
them  into  the  hand  of  Jabin  king  of  Ca¬ 
naan,  that  reigned  in  Hazor ;  the  captain 
of  whose  host  was  Sisera,  which  dwelt  in 
Harosheth  of  the  Gentiles.  3.  And  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel  cried  unto  the  Lord;  for  h6 
had  nine  hundred  chariots  of  iron :  and 
twenty  years  he  mightily  oppressed  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel. 

Here  is, 

I.  Israel  backsliding  from  God;  They  again  did 
ei'il  in.  his  sight,  forsook  his  service,  and  worship¬ 
ped  idols;  for  that  was  the  sin  which  now  most 
easily  beset  them,  v.  1.  See  in  this,  1.  The  strange 
strength  of  corruption,  which  hurries  men  into  sin, 
notwithstanding  the  most  frequent  instances  of  its 
fatal  consequences.  The  bent  to  backslide  is  very 
hardly  restrained.  2.  The  common  ill  effects  of  a 
long  peace.  The  land  had  rest  eighty  years,  which 
should  have  confirmed  them  in  their  religion;  but, 
on  the  contrary,  it  made  them  secure  and  wanton, 
and  indulgent  of  those  lusts  which  the  worship  of 
the  false  gods  was  calculated  for  the  gratification  of. 
Thus  the  prosperity  of  fools  destroys  them.  Jeshu- 
run  waxeth  fat  and  kicketh.  3.  The  great  loss 
which  the  people  sustain  by  the  death  of  good  go¬ 
vernors,  They  did  evil,  because  Ehud  was  dead. 
So  it  may  be  read.  He  kept  a  strict  eye  upon  them, 
restrained  and  punished  every  thing  that  looked 
towards  idolatry,  and  keptXhem  close  to  God’s  ser¬ 
vice.  But  when  he  was  gone,  they  revolted,  fear¬ 
ing  him  more  than  God. 

II.  Israel  oppressed  by  their  enemies.  When 
they  forsook  God,  he  forsook  them;  and  then  they 
became  an  easy  prey  to  every  spoiler.  They  alien¬ 
ated  themselves  from  God,  as  if  he  were  none  of 

|  their’s;  and  then  God  alienated  them  as  none  of  his. 


t 

11? 


JUDGES,  IV. 


They  that  threw  themselves  out  of  God’s  service, 
threw  themselves  out  of  his  protection.  What  has 
my  beloved  to  do  in  my  house,  when  she  has  thus 
played  the  harlot?  Jer.  11.  15.  He  sold  them  into 
the  hands  of  Jabin,  v.  2.  This  Jabin  reigned  in  Ha- 
zor,  as  another  of  the  same  name,  and  perhaps  his 
ancestor,  had  done  before  him,  whom  Joshua  rout¬ 
ed,  slew,  and  burnt  his  city.  Josh.  11.  1,  10.  But 
it  seems,  in  process  of  time,  the  city  was  rebuilt, 
the  power  regained,  the  loss  retrieved,  and  by  de¬ 
grees,  the  king  of  Hazor  becomes  able  to  tyrannize 
over  Israel,  who  by  sin  had  lost  all  their  advan¬ 
tage  against  the  Canaanites.  This  servitude  was 
longer  than  either  of  the  former,  and  much  more 
grievous.  Jabin,  and  his  general  Sisera,  did  mighti¬ 
ly  oppress  Israel.  That  which  aggravated  the  op¬ 
pression  was,  1.  That  this  enemy  was  nearer  them 
than  any  of  the  former,  in  their  borders,  in  their 
bowels;  and  by  that  means,  had  the  more  opportu¬ 
nity  to  do  them  a  mischief.  2.  That  they  were 
the  natives  of  the  country,  who  bore  an  implacable 
enmity  to  them,  for  invading  and  dispossessing 
them ;  and  when  they  had  them  in  their  power, 
would  be  so  much  the  more  cruel  and  mischievous 
toward  them  in  revenge  of  the  old  quarrel.  3.  That 
these  Canaanites  had,  when  time  was,  been  con¬ 
quered  and  subdued  by  Israel,  were  of  old  sen¬ 
tenced  to  be  their  servants,  (Gen.  9.  25.)  and  might 
now  have  been  under  their  feet,  and  utterly  inca¬ 
pable  of  giving  them  any  disturbance,  if  their  own 
slothfulness,  cowardice,  and  unbelief,  had  not  suf¬ 
fered  them  thus  to  get  head.  To  be  oppressed  by 
those  whom  their  fathers  had  conquered,  and  whom 
they  themselves  had  foolishly  spared,  could  not  but 
be  very  grievous. 

III.  Israel  returning  to  their  God;  They  cried 
unto  the  Lord,  when  distress  drove  them  to  him; 
and  they  saw  no  other  way  of  relief.  Those  that 
slight  God  in  their  prosperity,  will  find  themselves 
under  a  necessity  of  seeking  him  when  they  are  in 
trouble, 

4.  And  Deborah  a  prophetess,  the  wife 
of  Lapidoth,  she  judged  Israel  at  that  time. 
5.  And  she  dwelt  under  the  palm-tree  of 
Deborah,  between  Ramah  and  Beth-el  in 
mount  Ephraim ;  and  the  children  of  Israel 
came  up  to  her  for  judgment.  6.  And  she 
sent  and  called  Barak,  the  son  of  Abinoam, 
out  of  Kedesh-naphtali,  and  said  unto  him, 
Hath  not  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  com¬ 
manded,  saying ,  Go,  and  draw  toward 
mount  Tabor,  and  take  with  thee  ten  thou¬ 
sand  men  of  the  children  of  Naphtali  and 
of  the  children  of  Zebulun  ?  7.  And  I  will 

draw  unto  thee,  to  the  river  Kishon,  Sisera, 
the  captain  of  Jabin’s  army,  with  his  cha¬ 
riots  and  his  multitude ;  and  I  will  deliver 
him  into  thine  hand.  8.  And  Barak  said  unto 
her,  If  thou  wilt  go  with  me,  then  I  will  go ; 
but  if  thou  wilt  not  go  with  me,  then  I  will 
not  go.  9.  And  she  said,  I  will  surely  go 
with  thee  :  notwithstanding  the  journey  that 
thou  takest  shall  not  be  for  thine  honour; 
for  the  Lord  shall  sell